Pakistan’s interior minister on Wednesday recommended banning the far-right Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) political party under the country’s anti-terrorism law, after activists and supporters staged violent rallies across the country, leaving chaos in their wake.
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The party is demanding the immediate expulsion of the French ambassador along with a boycott of French products over the French president’s defense of a teacher who displayed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, the federal interior minister, told a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday evening that the Punjab provincial government “has requested the ban [of the party] and the summary has been sent to the federal cabinet for approval.”
Ahmad continued: “Two police personnel were martyred and 340 others injured in the violent areas and party workers placed hurdles in the way of ambulances and blocked highways and roads, causing difficulties for the general public.”
Meanwhile, police along with members of the Pakistan Rangers paramilitary law enforcement organization cleared the majority of highways across the country, but officers remain deployed to counter any reaction from the party’s backers.
Earlier, Tehreek-e-Labbaik party workers and supporters staged violent protests across the country after Lahore police took party chief Maulana Saad Hussain Rizvi into custody on Monday.
Rizvi was arrested after he threatened to lead massive protests against the government if it did not expel French Ambassador Marc Baréty by April 20 over the blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.