The Lahore deputy commissioner on Saturday issued an order for the immediate release of banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Saad Hussain Rizvi.
The development came following the Federal Review Board (FRB) ordering Saad's release, if not wanted in any other case, after the provincial government withdrew its reference for further extension in his detention.
A three-member FRB, led by Supreme Court judge Justice Maqbool Baqir, held the hearing via video link at the Supreme Court's Lahore Registry earlier in the day.
The provincial review board had set aside the detention order of the TLP chief earlier.
In its detailed order,a three-member review board headed by Justice Malik Shehzad noted that the government counsel had argued that Saad was detained on the basis of district intelligence reports to prevent a law and order situation.
"The law officer or representatives of the government who appeared before the board didn’t produce any evidence that detenu [Saad Rizvi] was in contact with any person in the outside world during his detention," the order read.
The board also noted that the government had presented one side of its claim regarding law and order which showed its “malice”.
Later, the provincial government detained Saad under Section 11-EEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
This conduct of the government was challenged in the Lahore High Court.
LHC orders release of TLP chief Saad Rizvi
The provincial government obtained a month's extension in his detention from the FRB.
After that, LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh declared the detention as illegal.
The court approved a petition filed by Saad's uncle in which he claimed that the government had extended his detention with ‘mala fide intent'. He further contended that the government had implicated Saad in 14 criminal cases after detaining him.
He asked the court to declare the action of the government illegal and order his nephew's release.
According to the petitioner's counsel, Saad's party was a purely religious organisation and had nothing to do with the country's politics. However, he maintained, the government arrested several leaders of the TLP on a political basis and put them in detention over threat to public peace.
The FRB heard the Punjab government’s reference for further detention on Saturday.
However, this time the board reprimanded the provincial government following which the latter withdrew its reference.
Saad was initially detained in April over the charges of inciting his followers to take the law into their hands.
He was taken into custody after the TLP had held protests to press the government for the expulsion of the French ambassador to Pakistan ever since blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were published in France and the move was supported by the French president.
The banned outfit called off its violent protests after the federal government tabled a resolution in parliament to debate the French ambassador's expulsion.
Saad is the son of the firebrand cleric and previous head of the TLP, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who died in November last year.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ