Sunday’s clashes between the Punjab Police and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) workers led to reactions from various political parties as well as religious groups. Here is a recap:
Maulana Fazlur Rehman
Addressing the media on Sunday night, Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that this situation should be resolved wisely. He said that if the TLP comes to Islamabad, the JUI-F will support them. He criticised the government for declaring TLP a terrorist party.
Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemned the violence in Lahore and other parts of the country. He expressed grief over the loss of lives, including those of policemen and civilians, as the direct result of the PTI government’s inability to handle the situation peacefully.
“The real fight is about fighting against the root of the festering problem, not in just responding to the symptoms. Why has the selected government not bothered to implement the National Action Plan, or even discuss arising challenges in parliament,” said Mr Bhutto. He pointed out that the tendency to foster and coddle pressure groups through instigating ethnic, religious and sectarian hatred had begun during Zia’s regime, to squeeze mainstream national political parties. He added that it was painfully clear that we have failed to understand that no one can consistently play with fire without getting burnt themselves.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi strongly condemned the violence in Lahore. In a statement, Mr Abbasi said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) believes that “Namoos-e-Risalat (sanctity of prophethood) is the foundation of a Muslim’s ideology. No Muslim can compromise on it.” He criticised the government for its failure to establish peace in the country. “PDM stresses that peace and stability will only be established in Pakistan when it is run according to the Constitution and people’s wishes,” added Abbasi.
Mufti Muneebur Rehman
On Sunday night, former Ruet-e-Hilal Committee chairperson Mufti Muneebur Rehman called for a countrywide strike the next day (Monday). Several otherst religious leaders have supported Mufti Muneeb’s strike call, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar:
PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar called Maulana Fazl’s statement “irresponsible”. He said that it is not right to use what happened in Lahore for political point-scoring. Khokhar also said that Mufti Muneeb is also settling a score with the government after he was removed from his post as the chairperson of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee. Khokhar asked why the government had signed an illegal and unconstitutional agreement with the TLP back in November.
Sindh High Court Bar Association
The Sindh High Court Bar Association condemned the utter failure of the PTI government to peacefully resolve this crisis. “The government’s reaction has swung from willful blindness to disproportionate and lethal force.” It also condemned the “unconstitutional gagging of electronic media in relation to the protests”.
Meanwhile, Geo News reported that a delegation of ulema led by Sahibzada Hamid Raza met the banned TLP chief Saad Rizvi in jail on Monday and urged him to end the protests taking place in the country by releasing a video message.