LAHORE - Nationwide crackdown against Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and detention of its chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi has created unrest among the party ranks with some of the leaders have gone underground and are making desperate attempts to mobilise the workers through social media.

Their efforts, however, so far failed to receive any positive response from the followers and no major protest or rally was seen by the TLP across the country on Saturday.

But, the leaders of the hardliner Brailvi organisation still insist that they will gather workers at Faizabad at any cost on Sunday (today).

Muhammad Shafique Ameeni, a central leader of the TLP KP chapter, issued a message from his Twitter account asking workers to reach Peshawar’s Jamil Chowk from where they will march towards Islamabad.

The TLP Rawalpindi district head Syed Anayatul Haq asked followers to reach Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi on Sunday. Some leaders were using WhatsApp to contact the workers. However, the situation remained quite normal in the city and similar reports came from other parts of the country against the fear of road blockages and burning tyres. 

The security agencies on Friday late night detained Khadim Rizvi and around 500 TLP workers in different cities after they refused to call off a public meeting scheduled to be held at Faizabad on Sunday (today).

The government had asked the TLP to select alternative place for the rally and avoid creating public inconvenience at Faizabad. But, the TLP insisted the meeting will be held at same venue. The rally was announced to ‘pay homage to the martyrs of Khatme Nabowat Movement.’

The TLP had staged a sit-in on November 2017 at the Faizabad Interchange Rawalpindi contesting changes in the Elections Bill 2017 in which the word ‘oath’ was changed to ‘declaration.’ 

Some of the protesters were killed, according to TLP, in a clash with police on November 25 and it resulted in the countrywide protest which later ended after an apparent surrender by the government on the TLP terms.

Meanwhile, all important religious parties except some Brailvi/Sunni organisations were completely silent over the situation and none of them condemned the arrests. Sunni Ittehad Council head Sahibzada Hamid Raza and JUP-Imam Noorani Secretary General Anas Noorani said crackdown was victimization of ‘Ahle-Sunnat.’

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Islam head Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali went underground and issued a video message completely disassociating himself and his party from Khadim Rizvi’s TLP. Jalali and Rizvi had founded the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah some years ago but later the party broke into two factions- TLP and TLI.

The TLP had organised the sit-in in front of Punjab Assembly while TLI at Data Darbar against Aasia Bibi’s acquittal from the Supreme Court. Jalali said he had never uttered a word against state institutions during the protest which according to him was completely peaceful. He said he had nothing to do with Rizvi’s abusive language and tirade against institutions.