LAHORE   -  Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi, his close aides, and hundreds of supporters were arrested in police crackdown across Punjab on Friday night.

Police mounted one of the biggest security operations in big cities to counter backlash as violent clashes and protests followed Rizvi’s arrest. The firebrand cleric was arrested from his Hujra inside the mosque near Yateem Khana Chowk as police entered the TLP headquarters after facing stiff resistance.

Ashraf Asif Jalali, the head of TLI (Tehreek Labbaik Islami), has gone underground, police sources revealed. Cops conducted a raid in Lahore late Friday but he had left. Raids were underway to arrest key leaders of the group.

Anti-riot units fired tear-gas shells when supporters of Rizvi pelted them with stones. Dozens of protesters were bundled into police vehicles and sent to different lockups amid clashes. When police operation unfolded, TLP workers took to social media to call for protest march towards police stations.

A senior police official told The Nation that Khadim Rizvi was arrested in connection with a criminal case related to Faizabad sit-in. He said the cleric was detained by police under the “Maintenance of Public Order.”

“It is difficult to calculate exactly how many suspects are arrested so far since the crackdown is underway. But, we can confirm, they are in hundreds,” the official said while requesting anonymity.

According to police sources, tens of thousands of police are taking part in the operation across the province. In Lahore, hundreds of police guards are deployed around important buildings to counter possible protests.

The cleric, whose account was blocked by twitter this month because of hate-speech stuff, was shifted to a high security police facility. Khadim Rizvi was detained several hours after his party gave protest-call against the Supreme Court’s reserved verdict on Faizabad sit-in.

As the police crackdown began, TLP protesters took to streets and clashed with police. They blocked Babu Sabu interchange, Shahdara Chowk, and Yateem Khana Chowk.

Hundreds of police guards are deployed around mosques and religious schools linked to TLP in Lahore, a police official said. He said the security was beefed up to counter possible protests and clashes. Police have been ordered to continue armed patrolling in big cities, he added.

Heavy police contingents cordoned off the entire Yateem Khana locality before the raid.

 

TLI DISTANCES ITSELF FROM TLP

 

Tehreek Labbaik Islam chief Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali completely disassociated himself and his party workers from ‘anti-state campaign’ led by TLP head Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

In a video message to his workers, he said he and his workers had never uttered a word against state institutions though his party held a peaceful protest in front of Data Darbar against Aasia Bibi’s acquittal.

He advised his workers to completely disassociate themselves from any protest call against ongoing arrests. He said it was Khadim Rizvi and Pir Qadri who provoked peaceful citizens to create unrest in the country. They (Rizvi, Qadri) also used irresponsible language against judiciary and military officers which can never be justified, said Jalali.

Jalali and Rizvi developed differences a few years ago but they came closer during recent anti-Aasia protests. Jalali in his fresh statement, however, clarified that he had nothing to do with Rizvi’s stance.

 

 

Khadim, supporters arrested