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Pakistan cleric's supporters bring Lahore to standstill


Supporters of Cleric Khadim Rizvi, who is the chief of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) blocked all entry and exit points of Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city, on Friday.

Local media reports and social media posts quoted Rizvi as asking his followers to come out onto the streets and block all roads across the country.

He was addressing his supporters from a wheel chair in front of Data Darbar Lahore and advised them not to go back unless he told them to do so.

Rizvi and the top TLP leadership have been protesting in Lahore for almost the whole last week, the web site reported.

The TLP wants the federal government to fully implement the 11-point Faizabad Agreement.

As per latest reports, Rizvi's followers have blocked key traffic intersections in Lahore, including the busy Thokar Niaz Beg. Reports also said that TLP followers had created blockages on the Lahore-Multan motorway at Chichawatni bypass and near View Hotel on the Lahore-Sahiwal bypass.

Pir Afzal Qadri, chairperson of the TLP, was quoted by the web site, as saying, "If the 11-point Faizabad agreement, which includes provisions like the release of arrested workers and withdrawal of cases against them, is not implemented, the entire country will be on the roads next Friday."

Temporary demonstrations and sit-ins were also reported in Mian Channu city in Khanewal district as well as in Kabirwala on the National Highway.

The protestors are demanding the implementation of Faizabad agreement. Rizvi and his followers are protesting today because in his view an army brokered agreement arrived at last month during a sit0in protest in Faizabad is not being implemented. Rizvi has alleged that the government is not interested in doing so.

The protesters are demanding that the government make public the Raja Zafar-ul-Haq Report that contains details of the investigation into the clerical error, the release of all arrested protesters, the formation of a committee to suggest action against those who used force against protesters and full implementation of an earlier agreement between Punjab government and TLYRA.

Last month, the Pakistan Army's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had described Rizvi as being 'reportedly dishonest' and capable of instigating youth.

"It is reported that Khadim Rizvi raised over 10 million before starting the march. He encouraged his followers to either accompany the march or contribute R. 300 per person," read the ISI report delivered to a court. The report also described Rizvi as an arrogant and harsh person.

On April 4, 2018, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) had declared Rizvi a proclaimed offender along with other leaders, including Maulana Inayatullah and Sheikh Azhar when they failed surrender before the court despite being sent several notices. The court had also issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Moulana Rizvi.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, April 13 2018. 15:16 IST