TLP calls off rally after cancellation of blasphemous caricature contest

LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) called off its protest rally after cancellation of a blasphemous caricatures contest in Holland.
The rally, led by Peer Muhammad Afzal Qadri and Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, had set out for Islamabad from Lahore a day earlier. It reached Rawalpindi late Thursday.
A government delegation held talks with TLP leaders, after which Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the TLP recorded its protest over blasphemous caricatures.
Speaking to media, he noted the National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution in this regard, while he also explained the emotions of Pakistani people to his Dutch counterpart.
Qureshi said Pakistan’s ambassador to Holland has confirmed cancellation of the controversial contest.
He said that such contests promote extremism and his government would raise the matter in the United Nations, requesting the TLP protesters to disperse peacefully.
Shortly after Qureshi’s press talk, the TLP announced to call off the rally.
“Tehreek-e-Labaik announces to end its protest,” announced party leader Pir Afzal Qadri.
The party had been demanding that the government expel the Netherlands’ ambassador to Pakistan from the country, as well as calls back Pakistan’s ambassador to Netherlands in protest against the competition.
On Wednesday, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri held a meeting with Rizvi. Qadri said the dignity of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was above everything.
The minister said everyone reserved the right to protest and that his government would provide full security to the TLP rally. He further said the government was assured that the rally would remain peaceful.
Qadri urged the TLP to provide workable suggestions, promising that the recommendations would be acted upon.