Saad Rizvi released from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail
Saad Hussain Rizvi, the chief of the recently proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), was released from Kot Lakhpat jail on Tuesday. The development was confirmed to Dawn.com by the public relations officer of the Punjab prisons department, Attiq Ahmed. Shortly after being released, Rizvi reached Yateem Khana Chowk where he is expected to address his supporters. His release came hours before a National Assembly session was scheduled to take place to vote on the expulsion of the French ambassador — one of the key demands of the party. On April 12, the government had arrested Rizvi after he demanded that the federal government expel the ambassador of France after blasphemous caricatures depicting Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) were published in France and supported by French President Emmanuel Macron. The government had reached an agreement with the TLP on Nov 16 last year to involve parliament in order to decide the matter in three months. As the Feb 16 deadline neared, the government had expressed its inability to implement the agreement and had sought more time. The TLP agreed to delay its protest by two-and-a-half months to April 20. Last week, Saad Rizvi, in a video message, had asked TLP workers to be ready to launch the long march if government failed to meet the deadline. The move had prompted the government to arrest him on April 12. Police had swooped on Rizvi at around 2pm on Wahdat Road in Lahore where he had gone to attend a funeral. Outraged, the TLP had issued a call for countrywide protests. The next day, police registered an FIR against the TLP chief under sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Within the next few hours, protesters took to the streets in Lahore and blocked the Grand Trunk Road on a number of points.