Pak strikes to ban Islamist social gathering for violent anti-blasphemy stir

Islamabad/Lahore, April 14

Pakistan on Wednesday decided to ban a radical Islamist party under the Terrorism Act after its supporters clashed with law enforcement agencies’ personnel for the third consecutive day, leaving seven persons dead and over 300 policemen injured.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) was being banned under the Rule 11-B of Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. “I have approved a proposal sent by the government of Punjab to ban the TLP,” he said.

Ahmed said at least two police officials were killed and 340 injured in clashes with the protestors during the last two days. There were media reports that at least two protesters were also killed.

The TLP had launched the country-wide protest on Monday following the arrest of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi ahead of April 20 deadline the Islamists had given to the Imran Khan government demanding expulsion of the French ambassador for publication of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.

The minister also said that all motorways and highways had been cleared and the main choking point in major cities also cleared of protesters.

Interestingly, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government which is fully backed by the military establishment had signed an agreement with the Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan in November last agreeing to expel the French ambassador. — PTI

1,400 arrested

  • The Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan is agitating against the arrest of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi, 26, ahead of countrywide rallies to denounce the publication of cartoons in France depicting the Prophet Mohammad.
  • 1,400 workers have been arrested. Troops were deployed to clear the protesters who blocked rail, road traffic in major cities.

In touch with Pak on safety of Sikh pilgrims: Jaishankar

New Delhi/Lahore: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has tweeted that India is in touch with Pakistan authorities on safety of over 800 Indian pilgrims whose visit has been affected by violent protests in several cities. Earlier, DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa had requested Jaishankar to look into the matter. The stuck pilgrims have finally reached Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Rawalpindi to attend Baisakhi celebrations. They are scheduled to visit several holy places. PTI

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