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55-Year Sentences Handed to Khadim Rizvi’s Brother and Nephew

The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC)-I Rawalpindi Judge Shaukat Kamal Dar has awarded 55-year sentences and imposed a fine of Rs 1,35,000 on the brother and nephew of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, along with 86 other TLP members.

The court has given a total of 4,738-years jail time and a fine of approximately Rs 13 million (Rs 12,925,000), along with the order to confiscate all moveable and immoveable property of all accused individuals. If the accused fail to pay the fine, they will be collectively sentenced with 146 more years of imprisonment. While the case registered at the Pindi Ghap police station, on November 24, 2018, named 87 people, one person obtained bail and fled abroad.

The court gave its decision late on Thursday night after the terrorism act was proven against all accused. Police and Elite Force officials loaded the accused in three buses after the court’s decision and shifted them to Attock Jail.

Police arrested the TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, his brother Ameer Hussain Rizvi, his nephew Muhammad Ali, and 87 other religious extremists on November 28, 2018. They were arrested on charges of creating unrest throughout the country, rioting and resisting against the police. After Khadim Rizvi’s arrest, religious extremists created unrest in the country, beat up police officials and common citizens, and damaged both government and private properties.

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Khadim Rizvi and other leaders of TLP and the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah party were arrested in 2018 in a crackdown by security forces in Lahore. Activists from both parties took to the streets, blocked roads and caused public unrest after news of the arrests broke. Some violent activists clashed with police on Multan road, during which a constable was seriously injured.

Before the clash happened, a police official said that hundreds of police commandos and personnel of the anti-riot force had been dispatched to Multan road after receiving information that violent members of TLP were holding a senior police officer, Iqbal Town SP Syed Ali and his guards, hostage.

While the government insisted that the arrests had nothing do with TLP’s sit-in in Islamabad against a Supreme Court verdict acquitting Asia Bibi in a blasphemy case, they did occur a few months after that. Then Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter at the time: “The action was prompted by TLP’s refusal to withdraw its call for protest on November 25. It’s to safeguard public life, property, and order”.

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The court also gave an additional two-year sentence and a fine of Rs 50,000 each to Ameer Hussain Rizvi, his son Muhammad Ali, Qari Mushtaq and Gulzar Ahmed, on charges of having illegal weapons.

At the time of the decision, there was high security all around ATC Rawalpindi. Let’s see how this news affects the country this time around.

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