Thousands of Islamists continue marching to Pakistan capital

A party spokesman and witnesses say thousands of supporters of a banned radical Islamist party departed the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore, clashing for a second straight day with police who lobbed tear gas into the crowd

Via AP news wire
Saturday 23 October 2021 10:49
Pakistan Islamist Rally
Pakistan Islamist Rally

Thousands of supporters of a banned radical Islamist party Saturday departed the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore clashing for a second straight day with police who lobbed tear gas into the crowd, a party spokesman and witnesses said.

The group began their journey Friday with the goal of reaching the capital Islamabad to pressure the government to release Saad Rizvi, the head of the Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan party. Rizvi was arrested last year amid demonstrations against France over the publication of caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Violent clashes erupted between security forces and Islamists in Lahore leaving at least two police and two demonstrators dead Friday.

Sajid Saifi, spokesman for Rizvi’s party, said supporters spent the night near the Ravi River bridge and in the early morning started again toward Islamabad amid heavy tear gas. Saifi said the huge crowd removed barricades and exited the city limits but again faced security forces near the town of Kala Shah Kako.

Saifi said “many” party supporters were injured by tear gas cannisters as they attempted to leave Lahore. Witnesses said the rallygoers were on foot but some vehicles moving alongside them to took the injured to hospitals and to bring food and water.

Rizvi’s party gained prominence in Pakistan’s 2018 elections, campaigning on a single issue: defending the country’s blasphemy law, which calls for the death penalty for anyone who insults Islam. It has a history of staging violent protests to pressure the government to accept its demands.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in