Pakistan anti-blasphemy row continues after crackdown

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Islamabad, Pakistan – Lots of of defiant anti-blasphemy protesters proceed to dam a most well-known motorway into the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Sunday, after a security forces operation failed to determined the demonstration a day earlier, resulting in not not up to 5 deaths, sanatorium officials stated.

Greater than 217 of us earn additionally been wounded in the clashes, which noticed police fire mosey gasoline, rubber-lined steel bullets and water cannon at protesters, who fought abet with stones and steel rods.

The government called in the Pakistani navy leisurely on Saturday to support take hang of an eye on the disaster, however on Sunday no troopers were considered amongst the protection forces cordon established to hang the protesters.

Pakistani High Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held a high-level security meeting with Military Chief Total Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday to keep in touch in regards to the disaster.

The demonstrators were blockading the Faizabad interchange, a most well-known entry point into Islamabad, since November Eight, demanding the resignation of the federal Legislation Minister Zahid Hamid over perceived blasphemy.

Anti-blasphemy protests explained

On November Eight, thousands of anti-blasphemy protesters entered the Pakistani capital Islamabad to command against a small alternate in the nation’s electoral regulation, which they noticed as a softening of the insist’s insist against Ahmadi Muslims.

The protesters are led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a firebrand cleric who has long campaigned against Ahmadi Muslims, accusing them of blasphemy and on a fashioned foundation inciting violence against them.

Whereas the federal government reversed the alternate in the electoral regulation even old to the protesters arrived in Islamabad, they’re indubitably demanding federal regulation minister Zahid Hamid, who they retract into consideration accountable for the alternate, be fired and face prison fees.

Since then, the protesters earn blocked a most well-known glean right of entry to route to the Pakistani capital and rebuffed several makes an attempt at negotiation by the federal government.Led by cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, they take hang of Hamid accountable for a small alternate in the wording of a honest currently handed electoral regulation, which they retract into consideration to melt the Command’s insist against Ahmadi Muslims.

Last week, the Islamabad High Court docket ordered the federal government to determined the command as they were inflicting a certified misfortune to commuters between Islamabad and its twin metropolis of Rawalpindi.

Protesters take hang of insist

After the sooner assault, security forces had backed off to a much-off outer perimeter on Sunday.

« We are holding our positions till we earn further orders, » stated Naeem Iqbal, an Islamabad police spokesperson.

At the Faizabad interchange, thousands of protesters persevered to retract the avenue, gathered spherical a makeshift stage where command leaders were addressing them.

Lots of the protesters were armed with sticks or steel rods, and a few held riot shields snatched from the police in some unspecified time in the future of the unsuccessful operation to determined the space.

The entry facets to the demonstration are policed by masked protesters wearing yellow construction helmets emblazoned with the name of Rizvi’s political occasion, the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan.

Sitting on thatched mats or blankets, plenty of the protesters were reading the newspapers, whose entrance pages were dominated by news of the clashes on Saturday.

Tv news channels remained off-air right thru the nation below government orders on Sunday, as the nation’s media regulator stated dwell protection of the command used to be hindering security operations.

Authorities earn additionally blocked glean right of entry to to social media net sites Twitter, Fb and Instagram nationwide, as some protesters had begun using them to broadcast dwell video from the demonstration.

Slack on Saturday, several smaller protests had developed in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest metropolis, to boot to in Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad.

Indispensable highways in Punjab province, Pakistan’s most populous, remained closed due to the protests on Sunday, stated Imran Ahmed Shah, a motorway police spokesperson.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s net correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.

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