Pakistan on Wednesday decided to ban a radical Islamist party under the Terrorism Act after its supporters clashed with the law enforcement agencies for the third consecutive day, leaving seven persons dead and over 300 policemen injured.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the media that the Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) was being banned under the Rule 11-B of Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.
“I have approved a proposal sent by the government of Punjab to ban the TLP,” he said. “We have also warned those who are funding the TLP.” Ahmed said that at least two police officials were killed and 340 others injured in clashes with the protestors during the last two days.
The announcement came hours after the Pakistani Rangers cleared the major thoroughfares of the country following sporadic clashes with TLP supporters in some towns and cities.
The TLP had launched the country-wide protest on Monday after the arrest of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi ahead of April 20 deadline the Islamists had given to the Imran Khan government demanding expulsion of the French ambassador for publication of cartoons of the Prophet. The TLP, which bagged 2.5 million votes in the 2018 general elections, blocked the roads across the country following the arrest of Saad Rizvi, son of Khadim Hussain Rizvi who died a few months ago. The minister said that all motorways and highways had been cleared and the main choking point in major cities had also been cleared for traffic.