Lahore - A two-member bench of the Supreme Court will take up tomorrow (Thursday) an appeal filed by the Punjab government against a Lahore High Court (LHC) decision to grant bail to Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

Khadim Rizvi and other leaders and activists of the TLP had been booked for launching violent protests against a Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case last year.

In its appeal, the provincial government has contended that the Lahore High Court granted bail to the TLP leader in May this year without fulfilling legal requirements. The Punjab government’s petition stated that there was enough evidence against the TLP leader and pleaded the top court to nullify the impugned verdict.

In May this year, TLP chief Rizvi and patron-in-chief Pir Afzal Qadri had been granted bail by an LHC bench.

The latter’s bail expired on July 15 but was extended on medical grounds in a petition filed after an FIR registered under Sections 290, 291, 353, 427, 186 and 188 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), Section 6 of the Sound System Punjab Ordinance 2015 and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 with Civil Lines police.

In the FIR, the TLP leaders were accused of leading violent protests against acquittal of Aasia Bibi in blasphemy case.

On November 23, Rizvi was taken into ‘protective custody’ by police from Lahore. The TLP chief and other leaders were booked under sedition and terrorism charges at Lahore’s Civil Lines Police Station while countrywide crackdown on the party leaders and workers were conducted.

As per the government, a total of 2,899 suspects had been taken into protective custody as a result of the protests from across Punjab.

The government believes that the TLP launched protests and caused harm to people’s lives and properties in spite of its efforts to convince the party to protest peacefully.

Khadim Rizvi and other party leaders and workers were blamed for staging violent protests, passing incendiary remarks against judiciary and the prime minister. They are also accused of provoking the military to stage a mutiny following the apex court’s decision to acquit Aasia Bibi in the blasphemy case.