Pakistan: TLP 'goons' force policemen to chant religious slogans, activist term it state failure

·3-min read
Shama Junejo suspects a
Shama Junejo suspects a

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 13 (ANI): In what has been described as a state failure, "goons" from far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) gheraoed police personnel in Lahore city of Pakistan on Tuesday and forced them to chant religious slogans.

A video of the incident has been circulating on social media. In the video, dozens of men can be seen with wooden sticks and forcing three injured police personnel to repeatedly chant religious slogans. "Keep reciting Rasulullah," said the crowd.

The video was also shared by Pakistan journalist Hamid Mir and Shama Junejo, a London-based human rights activist.

This incident took place as protests broke out in Pakistan against the arrest of a far-right Muslim leader who heads a party known for holding mass demonstrations on the issue of perceived "blasphemy".

Junejo suspects a "great conspiracy" behind the protests.

"A state fails when the authorities lose their control before the warlords and criminals. The way Punjab Police has been thrown in front of TLP Goons looks like a great conspiracy against the sovereignty of Pakistan. Who is behind this all?" tweeted Junejo.

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Clashes between police and protesters were reported from Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and several other smaller cities. Police fired tear gas and water cannon in attempts to disperse the protesters, who fought back in some places by throwing stones.

Rizvi's arrest was made as TLP was planning to protest against Prophet Muhammad caricatures published in France and demanding that the French ambassador be sent home and import of goods from the country banned.

At least three people were killed and 40 others, including policemen, were injured after violence erupted in major cities across Pakistan following Rizvi's arrest.

According to The Express Tribune, deaths occurred in the Faizpur Interchange area of Lahore. A police constable, who was deployed at Gowalmandi police station in Lahore, was also killed by protesters.

In a statement, spokesperson for the party, Tayyab Rizvi, said the protests will not be called off till the "French ambassador is deported". He added that more party workers are arriving at areas from where other supporters were earlier arrested by law enforcement officials.

Rizvi was detained by security forces in Lahore on Monday.

In view of the protest, the federal government held a meeting at the interior ministry this afternoon, led by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and officials of the law enforcement institutions.

The interior ministry issued directions for suspending internet services in the sensitive areas of the federal capital. The services will remain suspended in Taramri, Faizabad, T Chowk Rawat, Expressway, Athal Chowk and Bara Kahu for the next 24 hours, the Express Tribune reported. (ANI)