• Monday, Dec 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Pakistan issues last warning to Islamists blocking route into capital

  • Published at 02:44 pm November 18th, 2017
Pakistan issues last warning to Islamists blocking route into capital

Pakistani authorities issued a final warning to members of an Islamist party blocking a main road into the capital, raising fears of a violent clash.

Hundreds of supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party have been blocking the route into Islamabad for nearly 10 days, demanding the minister of law be sacked for what they say is blasphemy.

"You all are being given a last warning," the Islamabad deputy commissioner said in the order.

A court had already ordered the party to end the protest, the order added. "After this final announcement, you all are being warned to end the illegal sit-in immediately."

Tehreek-e-Labaik blames the minister, Zahid Hamid, for changes to an electoral oath that it says amount to blasphemy. The government puts the issue down to a clerical error.

Pakistan's blasphemy law is a lightning rod for Islamists, especially since 2011 when the liberal governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was murdered by a bodyguard for questioning it. The law mandates the death penalty for insulting Islam or the Prophet Mohammad (Pbuh).

A spokesman for the Labaik party, Ejaz Ashrafi, said the group would not comply with the deputy commissioner's ultimatum.

"We're not moving," he told Reuters by phone from the sit-in.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal appealed to the protesters to end the sit-in before a delegation of Chinese investors arrived in Islamabad on Monday, making a last offer to negotiate on their demands.

But he added: "If some group tries to hold the state hostage, that behaviour will not be tolerated."

A government official, Khalid Abbasi, said protesters on the road were carrying rods and sticks. Since they were given the warning, he said, hundreds more party workers had joined the sit-in.

The government has blocked several roads with shipping containers in an effort to corral the protesters, causing hours-long traffic jams in and around the capital.

In 2007, a confrontation between authorities and supporters of radical preachers at an Islamabad mosque led to more than 100 deaths.

"All resources can be used to break this sit-in," the deputy commissioner's warning said.

 
50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail