In recent years, Pakistan has witnessed the meteoric rise of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a political and religious organization that has been at the forefront of various social and political issues. The organization, which originated from a protest campaign in 2015, has rapidly gained prominence, not just within Pakistan but also in international circles.
TLP’s activities have been a subject of concern for both the government and civil society. One of the most alarming incidents was the desecration of 74 graves belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Daska city, Sialkot District of Punjab. This act was not an isolated incident; TLP has been involved in a series of violent and politically charged mass mobilizations across the country. The organization’s actions have had a particularly detrimental impact on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, who have been the target of religious discrimination and violence for decades. Pakistan Today reports on the government’s stance towards TLP, which raises questions about the state’s commitment to protecting minority communities like the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
The organization’s political agenda is expansive, covering issues ranging from the separation of religious and secular education to the promotion of Islam through various taxes like zakat, usher, kharaj, and jizyah. Their influence reached a new height when the federal government agreed to issue a letter declaring that TLP was not a terrorist organization. This agreement led to the lifting of the ban on TLP’s media coverage and the withdrawal of all political cases filed against its workers and leaders. Pakistan Today reports on the government’s stance towards TLP, which raises questions about the state’s commitment to protecting minority communities like the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
TLP’s activities are not confined to domestic issues. They have been vocal about incidents occurring outside Pakistan, especially in Europe. For example, millions rallied in the streets across Pakistan, condemning the desecration of the Quran in Sweden, was published in Al-Jazeera. TLP chief Saad Rizvi even threatened war against Sweden if such acts were not stopped. These actions have implications for the international image of Pakistan and its minority communities, including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
The rise of TLP and its frequent flexing of political muscle in the form of street agitation and various violent activities are evidence of further cracks in Pakistan’s social fabric. The religious fanaticism and quest to be the truest believer have not even spared the eclectic Barelvis, who constitute about 50% of Pakistan’s population.
The rise of TLP poses a significant challenge to the social and political landscape of Pakistan. While the organization has gained a considerable following, its activities have raised serious concerns about the safety and well-being of minority communities, particularly the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The government’s ambivalent stance towards TLP further exacerbates these concerns, leaving minorities in a state of perpetual insecurity. It is imperative for civil society and international organizations to take note of these developments and advocate for the protection of minority rights in Pakistan.