August 5, 2021

The cleric who led the protests against the Christian Asia Bibi in Pakistan was arrested

The cleric who led the protests against the Christian Asia Bibi in Pakistan was arrested

The Government of Pakistan announced today the arrest of the Islamist leader who led the protests against Christian Bibi's acquittal of the crime of blasphemy, for which she had been sentenced to death.

"Khadim Hussain Rizvi is in police custody and has been taken to a guest house," Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told his Twitter account.

The minister said Rizvi's party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), insisted on holding a protest in Rawalpindi, a city neighboring Islamabad, and rejected other alternatives for that demonstration offered by the government.

The arrest "is to safeguard public life, property and order and has nothing to do with Asia Bibi," Chaudhry said.

TLP leader Afzal Qadri said police had detained several members of his party across the country and called for new protests, according to local media.

In late October and early November, the TLP almost paralyzed the country when the Supreme Court revoked Bibi's death sentence, first imposed in 2010 and ratified four years later by the High Court of Lahore, and ordered his release .

The protests lasted until the government of the Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, reached an agreement with the TLP in which he promised to allow the Islamists to request before the Justice the prohibition to leave the country of Asia Bibi while the Supreme is studying a recourse against his acquittal.

Bibi was released from prison on November 7 and moved to a "safe" place, according to the Government, which has stated that she will not be able to leave Pakistan until the Supreme Court sees the appeal against her acquittal.

The TLP was founded in 2016 after the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, convicted of murdering the former governor of the province of Punjab (east) Salman Tasir in 2011 for defending precisely Bibi.

In the general elections of June 25 he won two seats in the provincial Parliament of Sindh.

Pakistan's hard anti-blasphemy law was established in the British colonial era to avoid religious clashes, but in the 1980s several reforms sponsored by the dictator Zia ul Haq favored the abuse of this rule.


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