Updated: November 02, 2021 11:10 AM GMT
Vehicles are struck during a protest march of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan in Muridke on Oct. 24 demanding the release of their leader Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, son of late founder Khadim Hussain Rizvi. (Photo: AFP)
Authorities in Pakistan today released hundreds of detained supporters of a banned Islamist party after a deal was struck with the group to end clashes that left seven policemen dead.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) was protesting over the detention of its leader, arrested in April when the group was outlawed by authorities, and was demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan.
The group has been behind major anti-France protests that earlier this year led to the French embassy issuing a warning for all its citizens to leave the country.
"I can confirm 860 people have been released," Mazhar Hussain, a police spokesman in Punjab province, told AFP.
Other detainees from the protest who had charges filed against them would have to go through the "legal process" to secure their release, he added.
A TLP leader, Mufti Muhammad Umair al-Azhari, confirmed to AFP that many of the party's supporters had been freed. "These are clearly the fruits of the agreement that we had with the government," he told AFP.
The TLP has said 14 of its supporters were killed in the clashes with police and scores were left injured. The government said TLP supporters shot police dead
Several thousand supporters began a stop-start march from the eastern city of Lahore to the capital Islamabad last week, reaching about one third of the way before calling it off.
But they are continuing the protest with a sit-in at a park in the city of Wazirabad, with leaders saying they will only disperse once 50 percent of the terms of their agreement with the government are fulfilled.
The TLP has said 14 of its supporters were killed in the clashes with police and scores were left injured. The government said TLP supporters shot police dead.
The party has waged an anti-France campaign since President Emmanuel Macron defended the right of a satirical magazine to republish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed — an act deemed blasphemous by many Muslims.
Six police officers were killed in April when the TLP staged days of rallies that paralysed roads.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.