Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party (TLP) has shot to rise as one of the most prominent Islamic parties in Pakistan in the last few years. They have projected an aggressive behavior both through releasing extremist statements in the press and by leading violent protests on the streets of Pakistan. TLP is the far-right religious party, led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi.
Khadim Hussain Rizvi has politicized the ultra-sensitive blasphemy issue in the Muslim-majority nation, trying hard to evoke people to adopt extremist mindset both on the political and social front.
We have briefed the timeline of events which have triggered the rise of TLP to fame and have tried to explain the reasons why they are so powerful in the country.
Origination of TLP:
The TLP began as a branch demanding the release of Mumtaz Qadri – the bodyguard who had gunned down Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011.
Salman Taseer was a progressive politician of Pakistan who had demanded to reform the blasphemy laws of the land which created the motive for Qadri to eliminate him brutally.
Qadri’s action was highly acknowledged by the religious parties of Pakistan as this murderer was showered with rose petals while being taken to the court. Qadri appeared to be unrepentant for his actions and was hanged in 2016.
TLP leaders were shrewd enough to realize the religious sentiments in the hearts of the Pakistani Muslims and they didn’t leave any stone unturned to provoke people to join their movements.
TLP tactfully included blasphemy as their party’s agenda and have placed themselves as the guardian of Islam. They are playing well in the political arena and have secured more than two million votes and two provincial seats in the 2018 general election.
Is TLP dangerous or brutal in their approaches?
TLP had been successful in bringing down Law Minister Zahid Hamid to his knees through massive protests. Hamid was forced to resign on the charge of committing blasphemy by the Islamist party due to a change in the wording of an oath taken by the parliamentarians. The changed wording was said to be being lenient on the Ahmadi sect followers who are unrecognized as Muslims in Pakistan.
Even they had forced the newly elected PTI government to fire an economics advisor Atif R. Mian to step down from the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), led by the Prime Minister Imran Khan himself, only because Atif was the member of the Ahmadi religious minority.
TLP was accused of leading the assassination attempt on Former Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in May 2018, although it has dismissed the reports claiming that they had no involvement in this case.
TLP also poured out on the streets after Asia Bibi’s death sentence was overturned by the Pakistani Supreme Court on a blasphemy case filed against her in 2009. The protesters threatened the judges and the army generals as well.
Asia Bibi and her family were shifted to safe houses amidst such outrageous outbreaks of the extremists to ensure their safety.
Initially, Prime Minister Imran Khan had criticized the extremists but later his administration took a U-turn by striking a deal with them because the newly elected government couldn’t bear a heavy religious backlash from TLP.
“They have presented themselves as the sole flag bearers of the blasphemy issue. Violence is a currency which sells in today’s times… they have proved that they can also kill and be killed for their cause.”- Columnist Khurshid Alam
TLP could go to any extent to execute their mission least fear the consequences that may cause them or on others.