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Religious parties stand with proscribed TLP in countrywide strike

By Hamza Ameer

Islamabad, April 19 (IANS) Prominent religious political parties along with many religious organisations have decided to side with the freshly proscribed religious organization, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), announcing a shutter-down strike on Monday, in protest against the violence and protests, that have led to clashes between the police, and have claimed lives of locals.

Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, former chairperson of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, along with leaders of other religious organizations of Pakistan, have called for a complete shutter down strike, against the use of force by the government to disperse the protestors in Lahore during the past two days.

Religious political parties including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI_F) and Jamat-e-Islami, the country’s largest religious party, have also come out in support of the strike call, stating that the government has opted to use of brutal force and has ignored negotiations to control the worsening situation on the streets of Pakistan.

“Certain people were certainly wrong, but the government should act wisely”, said Mufti Usman.

Other than religious and political parties joining in on the protest, traders across the country have also announced to close all markets today in support of the anti-government protest.

The protest comes in the wake of violent confrontation between protestors of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) and the police and rangers in Lahore, as security forces conducted operation to disperse the protestors of the banned religious political party in Lahore.

lashes between the security forces and the protestors resulted in casualties and critical injuries, while TLP claimed that security forces killed several of their people and even opened fire inside the mosque.

On the other hand, TLP protestors attacked a police station and took hostage at least 12 policemen, while left at least six critically injured.

“Miscreants armed with petrol bombs attacked the Nawankot police station, taking 12 policemen hostage and leaving sex injured”, said Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, spokesperson of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

However, the 11 hostage policemen were released in the early hours of Monday after successful first round of talks between TLP and the government.

TLP has been protesting against the arrest of its leader Saad Hussain Rizvi, who was taken into custody after he announced a march towards Islamabad, demanding the government to fulfill its commitment to expel the French Ambassador and severe ties with France over blasphemous caricatures against Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the statement by the French President.

The French embassy has also advised its nationals in Pakistan to leave the country amid serious security threats being posed by the TLP against its citizens.



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