The leader of Tahreek-E-Labaiq Party (TLP), Khadim Hussain Rizvi died due to a high fever on Thursday. According to reports, the doctors pronounced him dead when he was brought to Sheikh Zayed Hospital. TLP is an Islamist party that emerged on the scene in 2016 after the execution of Mumtaz Qadri. The party initiated protests against the hanging of Qadri since he had murdered Salman Taseer who had defended Asia Bibi a blasphemy accused.
Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s son Saad Hussain Rizvi is likely to be the new TLP leader.
He was laid to rest on Saturday (21st November) in Lahore. His final destination is located at Abu Zar Ghaffari Madrassah linked to Rehmat Ul Lil Alameen mosque. Thousands of people attended his funeral yesterday at Greater Iqbal Park Lahore.
Just few days before his death Rizvi’s TLP had staged a protest in Islamabad against the French President for his Islamophobc views and defence of blasphemous cartoonists in France. He had demanded the government of Pakistan to end any diplomatic ties with France. The protest had ended with the government accepting few of the demands of TLP.
Reactions On Khadim Hussain Rizvi Funeral
Just like the death of Khadim Hussain Rizvi the views regarding his massive funeral have been mixed; mostly divided into his opponents and supporters and those who are merely critiques of state.
As per this Twitter user who personally attended the funeral the crowd was so huge that he didn’t see anything of this scale before.
Some noted that this funeral was even bigger than Imran Khan’s 2011 political rally at Minar-E-Pakistan, which was regarded as the most successful event of Pakistan.
Indian media however found an excuse to highlight how Pakistan has shown affection for a radical who wanted annihilation of the French for defending blasphemous cartoons. They used this news to further show Pakistan as the victim of indoctrination and radicalization.
Many factions in Pakistan are also concerned about the coronavirus situation as the funeral posed a very high risk of exposure. It was also understandable that the government could not have stopped the funeral from exceeding in numbers, as it only banned political rallies, restaurants, and large number of guests at weddings.
On the same day, Pakistan recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus cases after 133 days i.e. 2,840.
There was a long debate on the total number of attendees as it had become the largest funeral, Lahore had even seen. Initially, it was said that there were approximately 200,000 people but later the figure became more than 1 million. The crowd was so much that the people could not carry the coffin of the deceased up the site of ceremony. Reportedly, it was then positioned on a nearby bridge to offer Janazah (funeral prayer for Muslim)
Who Will Lead TLP Now?
A natural question being raised after his death is that what will become of his party? Majority of the members seem extremists as they were under Khadim Rizvi. The popularity of Rizvi’s ideologies was visible from the massive crowd at his funeral.
There’s a concern whether this crowd will accept someone different as their leader or they will prefer to follow the same old extremist ways of handling religious misconceptions. A number of local reporters tweeted that TLP’s Majlis-E-Shura (council of advisers) has named his son Saad Hussain Rizvi as the new leader
Reports also said that Saad is going to carry on his father’s mission.
What Will Be The Party’s Future?
Currently, Saad is studying at his father’s Abu Zar Ghaffari madrassa. According to reports, this madrassa’s education is equivalent to M.A. in western education system.
He was among those who advised policies for TLP and also joined in for few protests. During the Faizabad protest on 15th November in Rawalpindi, Saad was at the forefront demanding to cut ties with the French President Emmanuel Macron due to his Islamophobic remarks on the murder of a teacher, who showed pictures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to a classroom.
It is said that he may have been a part of TLP but leading it would new for him. Public has to watch and watch if it will be a classic case of like father, like son or will he transform the party and eradicate chronic extremism from the party.