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Decoding TLP Movement in Pakistan: Who is Patronising the Barelvi Sect?

By: Manoj Gupta

CNN-News18

Last Updated: April 15, 2021, 20:58 IST

A supporter of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan Islamist political party hurls stones towards police during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Lahore, Pakistan. REUTERS/ File photo

A supporter of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan Islamist political party hurls stones towards police during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Lahore, Pakistan. REUTERS/ File photo

The past experience indicates that those who were patronising the other banned outfits are now extending their support for the most popular militant organisation of Pakistan, TLP.

Initially the general perception about Tehreek-e-Labbaik, or TLP, which was formed in 2016, was that maybe it is just a harmless Barelvi sect or movement. But after their siege and sit-in in Islamabad last year it was prominent that it is not just a religious movement.

That protest was so powerful that the Pakistan government had to accept their demand.

Interestingly, there was a video that showed the behaviour of a Brigadier of Pakistan army who was distributing cash among the workers for protest. The TLP power show continued to grow and protests spread to all major cities of Pakistan.

Important to note in July 2018, the TLP registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan and now the news is that the person who paid for the registration was a UAE national.

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This party was getting millions of rupees of funds from sources outside Pakistan. And then in November last year, they again came out with a demand that the government should bring back their diplomats from Paris and send French diplomats back to their country because of blasphemous caricatures and terrorist attacks afterwards.

The sudden death of TLP leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi is still covered with mystery and then his son Saad took over and came out on the streets in February this year with fresh protests and a new deadline.

The Govt again surrendered.

The latest update is that the son of General Zia ul Haq and the current interior Minister Sheikh Rashid were also behind their popularity and strength.

Naturally these two known men of the establishment had got the green signal from them.

And so finally between April 12 and April 14, they came out in full strength. After mass pressure, the TLP got banned but a new question arose: why did it take so long for the Pakistan government to take this step after giving them free hand?

The answer is simple: those who were supporting and backing the JEM and JuD are now possibly patronising the Barelvi movement of TLP.

Today, the TLP is the most popular militant organisation, which gives rise to another question: when Pakistan is already trying hard to come out from the grey list of the FATF and taking serious actions against terrorist organisations, then who is actually backing TLP? The past experience indicates that those who were patronising the other banned outfits are now extending their support for the TLP.

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first published:April 15, 2021, 20:58 IST
last updated:April 15, 2021, 20:58 IST