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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan, on Saturday, fixed a petition for hearing, which seeks release of Saad Hussain Rizvi, the leader of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah will hear the case on July 12.

Saad, the son of the late Khadim Hussain Rizvi, was detained on April 12 over charges that he had incited his followers to take the law into their own hands as, according to him, the government had gone back on its promise to expel the French ambassador.

The party had been pressing the government for the expulsion of the French ambassador to Pakistan, ever since blasphemous caricatures were published in France and their publication was supported by the French president.

The petition, filed by Saad's uncle, calls for the annulment of his "illegal detention" claiming there was no proof on record against him.

It further claims that 26 people were killed and over 400 activists of the party were injured in police firing during the TLP protests in April.

The petition says authorities took all actions on the basis of apprehensions and "so-called reports of agencies", adding that the government did not place before the court details of an agreement, dated November 16, 2020, regarding the expulsion of the French ambassador from the country.

"It misled the court through concealment of facts," reads the petition.

In the plea, the Punjab government, Lahore deputy commissioner, Lahore police chief, superintendent KotLakhpat Jail, and SHO NawanKot Police Station have been cited as respondents.

On July 8, a review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had released its detailed order in a case related to the detention of Saad Hussain Rizvi, observing that he should be "released forthwith," if he was not required in any other case.

In its detailed order, a three-member LHC review board, led by Justice Malik Shehzad, said the government counsel argued that Saad was detained on the basis of district intelligence reports in order to control deteriorating law and order situation.

It stated that political parties such as the PPP, the PML-N and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had also held protest demonstrations in the past, but none of them was banned nor was any leader of those parties detained.

The board quoted the government as complaining that Saad sought the expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan; however, it said various parliamentarians did not face any proceedings for raising similar clamour. Last week, the LHC review board had rejected the Punjab Home Department's request to extend the TLP leader's detention.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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