pulse | politics | South Asia
Leading a retiring right-wing party, Rizvis’s death will not diminish extremist politics in Pakistan.
Khadim Hussain Rizvi speaks to reporters during a general election rally in Karachi, Pakistan on July 1, 2018.
Credit: AP Photo / Fareed Khan
Khadim Hussain Rizvi, head of Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP),a group that has been the face of right-wing agitation for several years in Pakistan and often plunged the country’s capital into a stalemate over its anti-blasphemy rallies, died on 19 November.
The reasons for Rizis’ death are unknown. He is said to have suffered from fever for several days. In any case, the destruction of Rizi will have a lasting impact on the political landscape of Pakistan.
In Pakistan, the Rizvis party has been perceived by most as a force to be reckoned with in recent years. To his followers, Rizvi was a charismatic leader who brought electoral affiliation to a religious group not known for his street politics in Pakistan. When it comes to right-wing politics in Pakistan, Rizvi competed with several groups and leaders and practically stole the spotlight.
No other right-wing group in Pakistan has challenged the state as the Rizvis group has been able to do at will. From securing ministerial resignations to closing cities and forcing the state to rethink various policies, Rizvis’s agitation policy achieved significant gains. A few days before his death, he was in the capital, demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador to Pakistan over the issue of controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The government had no choice but to sign an agreement with Rizvi promising legislative changes to meet his demands and also released TLP workers arrested during clashes with security agencies.
His party has always been accused of receiving support from various state institutions. While Rizvi denied that his party was working on someone’s agenda, he often talked about revealing the names of officials who asked him to march on Islamabad for Reduction of 2017 against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs government. In any case, this does not mean that the TLP support base does not exist. In the 2018 general election, the TLP was able to collect more than 2 million votes across the country and also won two provincial assemblies places in Sindh. In Punjab, the Rizvis party nominated more candidates than the People’s Party of Pakistan (PPP) and emerged as one of the most organized political parties in the province. Moreover, the number of his candidates for the National Assembly was even more than those nominated by a amalgam of major religious-political parties, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA).
Rizvis’s death will pose a major challenge for the second level of TLPs leadership. Importers It is important to note here that before Rizvis came to power, there were serious differences regarding the issue of leadership. Rizvi has been able to set aside several other potential candidates and consolidate power in recent years. His death will provide a fight between several groups within the party for the leadership of the group. There was no other leader to even approach Rizvis persona. Thus, the inheritance process is expected to be tense and may divide TLP into several groups. Rizvis’s son could be appointed party leader to lead any possible leadership battle.
In any case, the support base for TLPs across the country is genuine and will not disappear with Rizvi’s death. However, a death of leaders, instrumental or charismatic as he may have been, is not enough to end an extremist organization. The TLP ideology has strong roots in Pakistan and many buyers, the researcher said Madiha Afzal on Twitter.
For the foreseeable future, we may not see much activity from the TLP at the political end, but the party should be back on the road soon, and perhaps with added support. If the party falters during the transition phase after Rizvi, we may see another group or leader emerging from the ashes.
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