Firebrand Pakistani cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi died here on Thursday at the age of 54, his political party TLP said. Though the cause of his demise was not immediately clear, there are speculations that he had contracted COVID-19.
Rizvi breathed his last at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) leader Sheikh Nawaz told PTI.
The TLP chief had fever for the last 10 days or so. Despite that, he attended the TLP protest on Sunday in Rawalpindi against the publication of “blasphemous” caricatures in France, Nawaz said.
“Today he felt severe pain in his chest at his home in Chowk Yateem Khana in Lahore. He was rushed to PIC where he passed away before getting any treatment,” he said.
Replying to a question about Rizvi having diagnosed with COVID-19 symptoms, Nawaz said he couldn”t confirm this, but the TLP chief had severe fever and cough.
Hundreds of TLP activists on Monday laid partial siege to the national capital to denounce the publication of blasphemous cartoons in a French magazine and force the government to expel the French ambassador.
After two days of violent clashes between TLP protesters and police in Rawalpindi, the Imran Khan government on Tuesday allegedly struck a deal with the Islamist political party, agreeing to one of its demands of not appointing any Pakistani envoy to France. There was, however, no official announcement of any such agreement. TLP had secured 2.4 million votes in 2018 elections. It was alleged that the military establishment had created this religious outfit to field in politics to achieve it”s designs.
The TLP first came to limelight in 2017 when it protested against some changes in the oath of elected representatives and organised about a three-week long sit-in at Faizabad, paralyzing life in Islamabad.
The TLP lifted the siege when then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government fired its law minister.
PML-N alleges that TLP was first used against its government in 2017 and later the party was pitched against it in 2018 polls to dent into PML-N votes.
Rizvi is considered a controversial cleric and was arrested for asking army troops to rebel against the army chief. He spent several months in jail before being released in May 2019.
Born in 1966 in Pindi Gheb area of Punjab”s Attock district, Rizvi used to deliver Friday sermons at Lahore’s Pir Makki Masjid located near Data Darbar.
He had been confined to a wheelchair since his accident near Gujranwala in 2006. Rizvi belonged to the Barelvi school of thought.