Pakistan frees 669 TLP supporters

Pakistani authorities freed nearly 669 supporters of outlawed radical Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), hours after it agreed to end a week of violent protests following talks with the government.

TLP’s leader, however, will remain behind bars with charges pending against him, the country’s Interior Minister said on Wednesday. Saad Rizvi was arrested April 12 after threatening protests if the government did not expel France’s Ambassador over the publication in France of controversial cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad for the first time acknowledged that eight supporters of the hard-line Islamist group were killed in violence that broke out April 12 after Mr. Rizvi’s arrest.

Mr. Ahmad said five police officers were “martyred” and 800 were injured in the clashes with Rizvi’s supporters.

Mr. Rizvi faces a murder charge after police officers died in the clashes with his supporters. Mr. Ahmed said Rizvi could approach the courts to seek relief.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 8:04:27 PM |

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