22 June 2023
APPEASING EXTREMISM: GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH TEHREEK E LABBAIK, A WELL-KNOWN RELIGIOUS EXTREMIST ORGANISATION
Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (the “TLP”), a well-known extremist religious organization, was banned under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 by the previous government due to their violent actions resulting in previous loss of lives of law enforcement agencies.
After remaining dormant for few months, the TLP once again brought out their supporters, inter alia, on the issues of price hikes of petroleum products and implementation of the blasphemy laws, and the present government, like previous governments, has entered into a written agreement with the leadership of the TLP.
As per the terms of the agreement, the government has agreed to speed-up the process of trial of all the cases of blasphemy in a manner that all “culprits” should be befittingly penalized. As per the agreement, it has also been agreed that the offence under Section 295-C PPC would be treated as an act of terrorism, punishable under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
One must not lose sight of the fact that the TLP is the organization who promotes extreme hatred against the Ahmadiyya Community and a number of speeches are available online in which they have instigated violence against Ahmadis living in Pakistan. Their leaders have a public stance that Ahmadis are blasphemers due to their belief in the founder of Ahmadiyya Community, hence, their demands of taking action against blasphemers is in fact a demand to take action against Ahnadis living in the county.
A number of Ahmadis are behind the bars on the basis of made-up charges of blasphemy and their bail pleas have been rejected due to the extreme hostile atmosphere prevalent in the society. A few days ago, an Ahmadi lawyer of Karachi was beaten up by the lawyers of TLP and then a case was registered against him just because he uses the title of “Syed” as part of his name. This 76 years old lawyer is still languishing in jail, despite the fact that he has been granted bail by the Sindh High Court.
Pakistan’s appeasement of extremists, and complete disregard for the universal right to freedom of religion, and the principles of the Rule of Law, are a matter of concern not only to the Ahmadi community. They should alarm all citizens of Pakistan, and Pakistan’s partners in the international community as well.
In such like situation, it has become almost impossible for Ahmadis to live peacefully in Pakistan.
On 13 July 2021, UN human rights experts expressed their deep concern over the lack of attention to the serious human rights violations perpetrated against the Ahmadiyya community around the world and called on the international community to step up efforts in bringing an end to the ongoing persecution of Ahmadis.
This dire development requires urgent international intervention. Political and faith leaders from across the world recently met in London to secure Freedom of Religion and Belief for everyone worldwide. But here in Pakistan these values are not being upheld. For the respect of all that was resolved in the international conference, the world must take immediate and urgent action to ensure that Ahmadis in Pakistan enjoy their full rights to follow their religion and be able to freely practice their faith as required.
We strongly urge the international community to impress upon the Government of Pakistan to honour its responsibility, to provide effective protection and freedom of religious and professional practice to Ahmadis, that perpetrators of such campaigns should be brought to justice, and to bring its laws and practices in conformity with international standards as ordained by Article 20, United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 2, 18 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Article 25, 26.
Scan and English translation of the written agreement between present Government of Pakistan and the leadership of the Tehreek e Labbaik Pakistan (“TLP”)
AGREEMENT BETWEEN BOTH THE GROUPS
1- Those who are part of the Blasphemous Acts being carroed out against the sanctities of Islam a free and fair trial should be run against them and they shall be brought to justice. Similarly those who are accused their appeal process should be made more speedy.
2- Filtration system should be introduced to remove the Blasphemous and inappropriate content from Social-Media.
3- Before taking the steps to stop the humiliation of the Holy Places of Islam the resources of the current institutions should be increased so that they are able to carry out their tasks in an efficient manner, furthermore a Counter Blasphemy Wing should be formed under the FIA.
4- Those who are accused under 295-C shall also be booked under ATA7.
5- The Foreign Ministry should write a letter to the American Government for the release of Dr Aafiya Siddiqui in 3 Working Days and the government must take serious steps for the return of Dr Aafiya Siddiqui to Pakistan.
6- Urdu should be promoted more to be used as an Official and Office language.
7- All the notifications issued by the PTA and PEMRA against the TLP should be denotified.
8- The Government of Pakistan should remove all the Political cases registered against the Office bearers and the workers of Tehreek e Labbaik Pakistan.
9- The Interior Ministry will issue a letter with regards to the matters saying that Tehreek e Labbaik Pakistan is not a terrorist organisation, but on the contrary it is a registered Political party under the Election Commission of Pakistan, there is no kind of ban from the government on this party on Social Media and other means of communication, and this party has complete freedom like all the other political parties.
10- The office bearers and the workers of Tehreek e Labbaik that have been excluded from the fourth schedule all kind
of restrictions should be lifted against them, with regards to this the Government of Pakistan with issue instructions to the Provincial Governments.
11- With regards to lowering the price of the Petroleum Products and with providing relief to the public and keeping in minds the demands of the TLP it has been decided that the Petroleum Prices will be decided under the following measures:
i- The reduction of the price on the international level
ii- The import of Cheap Oil from Russia
iii- The improvement in Rupee.
100% benefit will be shifted to the public, whereas on 30th June, 2023 the prices will be lowered according to the demands of Tehreek e Labbaik Pakistan, similarly on 15th July, 2023 the prices will be lowered in the second stage.
12- A Committee was formed to act upon this agreement and for this Tehreek e Labbaik will present four names, whereas from the government of Pakistan representatives of the Interior Ministry, PTA, FIA, Ministry of Information and Technology and the provincial interior department will be a part of that.
Rana Sanaullah Khan
Federal Interior Minister
Dr Muhammad Shafique Amini
Member Shoora Tehreek e Labbaik Pakistan
|Sardar Ayaz Sadiq
Federal Minister for Political Affairs
|Allama Ghulam Abbas Faizi
Member Shoora Tehreek e Labbaik Pakistan
Translated and subtitled “Breaking News”of Pakistani TV News Channels’ announcing the agreement between Government of Pakistan and the leadership of the Tehreek e Labbaik Pakistan (“TLP”)
- Live coverage of Joint Press Conference of Federal Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rana Sanaullah Khan with TLP Leader Allama Shafiq Ameeni:
Transcript of the English translation of the video clip:
They can be punished. They can be brought to justice. We have thought long and hard about it and unanimously reached a conclusion and formulated a committee, which will include Government law enforcement agencies as well as TLP seniors. They will look deeply into these matters and ensure the sanctity of the Holy Prophet peace be upon him. May Allah grant us success in this holy and sacred work.
Apart from this, the matter of Aafia Siddiqui is such that on a national level every Pakistani has deep emotions about it. Everyone is depressed and sad that she’s been sentenced for 86 years in jail. A few days ago, her sister Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui met her and the details of that meeting have surfaced. I think that Europe that makes tall claims of human rights should be ashamed after knowing these facts, that is this their criterion of human rights that, in their country, not only have they sentenced an innocent woman but also kept her in deplorable conditions.
Therefore, we have agreed that the sincere efforts that the Government is already putting in should be intensified. The Government should appeal or write a letter and highlight it in this way infront of the whole world and especially the American Government and those congressmen who sign letters regarding Pakistan that such and such thing has happened should also be informed about this cruelty and injustice.
Similarly, our TLP friends demanded a reduction in the petroleum prices. This also is a public demand, and everyone wants it.
- BREAKING NEWS coverage of agreement between Federal Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rana Sanaullah Khan and Representative of Tehreek e Labbaik, Pakistan:
Transcript of the English translation of the video clip:
An agreement has reached between the Government and Tahreek Labbaik Pakistan(TLP). According to the agreement, the Government will withdraw all registered cases against TLP workers and officials. The interior ministry will issue a letter regarding TLP which will define these points:
TLP is not a terrorist organization but a registered political party under the election commission of Pakistan.
There are no restrictions on TLP’s coverage on social and electronic media and the party has complete freedom as enjoyed by all other political parties.
TLP leaders and workers whose names have been taken off the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 will have the freedom of movement.
All the notifications issued against the TLP by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in the past would be de-notified.
They agreed to ensure unbiased trials of the accused facing charges of blasphemy.
A filtration system would be enforced through which blasphemous material and immoral content would be removed from social media.
The interor ministry would write a letter to the US government in three working days for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
According to the agreement petroleum prices will be reduced and relief will be given to the masses, the government would determine prices of petroleum products in line with global oil prices, import of oil from Russia and improvement in the value of rupee and its 100 percent benefit will be given to the masses.
On 30th June, 2023, in the first phase, according to the demand of TLP, petroleum prices will be reduced.
A combined committee will be formulated to oversee the implementation of agreement in which the TLP will also give four names.