The Punjab government on Monday took to the Supreme Court and challenged the Lahore High Court’s decision to declare Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi’s detention illegal, a private TV channel reported. The LHC had on Oct 1 declared illegal the detention of Rizvi in response to a plea filed by Rizvi’s uncle against his continued incarceration. Subsequently, the Lahore deputy commissioner had also issued orders for Rizvi’s release, citing the LHC judgement. The orders have, however, yet to be complied with and Rizvi is still in custody. The government, in the plea submitted to the apex court, said the LHC’s decision to release the TLP chief does not fulfill legal requirements, adding that a detailed record of the case was also submitted to the LHC. “The government’s decision to detain Saad Rizvi is legally valid [….] therefore, the Supreme Court should quash Lahore High Court’s decision,” the plea added. The provincial government has made Rizvi’s uncle a respondent in the petition. The plea said there were reports by intelligence agencies that Rizvi’s continued detention was necessary to prevent workers of the proscribed organisation to create a law and order situation. “There is credible information that hardliners within TLP are planning to stage sabotage activities as they are waiting for the release of detenue,” the petition added. The provincial government urged the top court to set aside the Oct 1 order of the LHC and let authorities continue the detention of the TLP chief. The court fixed October 12 (today) for hearing the petition. Rizvi, the son of the deceased TLP leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi, was taken into custody on April 12 for 90 days for inciting his followers to violence. According to Rizvi, the government had reneged on its promise to expel the French ambassador. The party had been pressing the government for the expulsion of the French envoy to Pakistan ever since blasphemous caricatures were published in France and their publication was supported by the French president. In November 2020, an agreement was reached between the TLP and the government – after the party held protests in the capital led by its then chief and Saad’s father, Khadim Rizvi – to involve the parliament in order to decide the matter of the French ambassador’s expulsion in three months. As the February 16 deadline neared, the government had expressed its inability to implement the agreement and had sought more time. The TLP had then agreed to delay its protest by two-and-a-half months to April 20. A week before the deadline, Rizvi, in a video message, had asked TLP workers to be ready to launch a long march if the government failed to meet the deadline. The move had prompted the government to arrest him on April 12.