Federal Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has announced that a summary seeking banning of hardliner Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) will be forwarded to the federal cabinet.
“We have taken the decision to ban TLP under Section 11(B) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997,” he was quoted as saying.
Under said law, the federal government can ban an organisation if it has reason to believe that the same is involved in terrorism.
Earlier, the ban had been proposed to the Interior Ministry by Punjab government as Labbaik activists wreaked havoc with countrywide violent protests against the arrest of party chief Saad Rizvi.
The riots have resulted in deaths of at least three cops in three days.
As per details of the protests, violence began late on Monday after police arrested Rizvi for threatening protests if the government did not expel the French ambassador, Marc Baréty, over blasphemous cartoons.
According to police, the arrest was aimed at maintaining law and order. But Rizvi’s detention quickly sparked violent protests by Islamists in cities around the country. The protesters blocked highways and roads in several cities.
The deadly clashes came two days after Rizvi in a statement asked the government of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan to “honour” a commitment it made in February to his party to expel Baréty before April 20.
However, the government has said it only committed to discussing the matter in the National Assembly.
The reaction from Rizvi’s supporters against his arrest was so swift that police in Lahore could not clear a main highway and roads. Thousands of people were stranded in their vehicles.
Monday’s clashes initially erupted in Lahore. Rizvi’s supporters later clashed with police in Karachi and they continued rallying on the outskirts of Islamabad, disrupting traffic and inconveniencing residents.
Reportedly, five TLP workers have also died with hundreds of both cops and activists injured. Property losses have also been reported.
It may be noted that the ban comes amid demands for the same by the general public as well as officials of government departments including the police.