The founder of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan Khadim Hussain Rizvi passed away on Thursday night in Lahore. He was taken to Sheikh Zayed Hospital where he expired. The son of the far-right preacher Saad Rizvi has confirmed the news to a local media outlet.
The TLP leader formed the party in 2016 after Mumtaz Qadri, the convicted murderer of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer was executed.
Twitter is abuzz with tweets paying condolences to the family of Rizvi from all corners of the country.
Reports are that the TLP leader had been ill for the last few days and his condition deteriorated today.
According to sources in the family of the TLP leader, Rizvi had developed fever as he led a protest at the Faizabad Interchange a few days ago.
After Rizvi’s health deteriorated, he was taken to Sheikh Zayed Hospital today where he expired, confirmed hospital sources.
A large number of TLP workers have gathered at his house to mourn his passing.
Read more: Was November 2020 TLP’s last hurrah?
TLP’s massive street power
The group is known for its massive street power and recently demonstrated in Islamabad against the publication of the caricatures of Prophet (PBUH) in a French magazine.
The group demands death for blasphemers and strict implementation of its version of Islamic law in the country.
The group first emerged in Punjab as Tehreek-e-Rehai Mumtaz Qadri (movement for Mumtaz Qadri’s release) in 2015 and was later renamed the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR).
Over five years later, Khadim Rizvi’s party has evolved into a powerful entity that has the power to close cities and force the government to surrender. Analysts believe that the Tehrik-e-Labbaik’s creation was intended as a pressure group to prevent the government from executing Mumtaz Qadri, who had been sentenced to death for killing former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. The decision to hang Qadari was a politically wrong judgement as it led to the creation of an organized Barelvi group in the form of TLP. There is a strong perception that the PML-N’s government intended to appease the European Union, western media and civil society.
The TLP organized a sit-in in Faizabad to protest against the government’s alleged involvement in modifying Khatm-e-Nabuwat [finality of Prophet-hood] clause in the Elections Bill 2017. The then law minister Zahid Hamid had to resign after the assurance that no Fatwa would be issued against him.
The TLP is known for violent protests over the issue. Its activists paralysed the country in 2018 following the acquittal of Christian woman Asia Bibi, who had been accused of disrespecting the Prophet Mohammed.