On Tuesday, Saad Hussain Rizvi, the leader of the newly banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), was released from Kot Lakhpat prison.
Attiq Ahmed, the public relations officer for the Punjab prisons department, reported the development to Dawn.com.
Rizvi arrived at Yateem Khana Chowk shortly after his release, where he is scheduled to address his supporters.
His liberation came just hours before a National Assembly session to vote on the removal of the French ambassador, one of the party’s main demands.
On April 12, the government detained Rizvi after he requested that the federal government expel the French ambassador following the publication of blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in France, which was endorsed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
On November 16, last year, the government signed an agreement with the TLP to include parliament in order to resolve the matter in three months. When the February 16 deadline approached, the government expressed its unwillingness to enforce the agreement and requested more time. The TLP decided to postpone its protest until April 20 by two and a half months.
In a video message last week, Saad Rizvi asked TLP staff to be prepared to begin the long march if the government refused to meet the deadline. The government arrested him on April 12 as a result of his actions.
At around 2 p.m., police swooped on Rizvi on Wahdat Road in Lahore, where he had gone to attend a funeral. Outraged, the TLP called for nationwide demonstrations.
The next day, police filed a FIR against the TLP leader under various provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Within a few hours, demonstrators took to the streets of Lahore, blocking the Grand Trunk Road at many stages.
Amir of Tehreek-e-Labeek Saad Rizvi has been released. pic.twitter.com/ipNQvdorJL
— Malik Sohail (@K2MOTORSS) April 20, 2021