Supporters of Pak extremist group cleric protest in several cities after his arrestPTI | Islamabad | Updated: 13-04-2021 00:09 IST | Created: 13-04-2021 00:09 IST
Supporters of an extremist religious group in Pakistan protested in several cities of the country after its chief was arrested by the police as a ''pre-emptive measure'' after he threatened the government with protests if it did not expel France's ambassador over depictions of Prophet Muhammad.
Rizvi called on the government to honour what he said was a commitment it made in February to TLP to expel the French envoy before April 20 over the publication in France of depictions of the Prophet.
Saad Rizvi is the son of late Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who protested last year against sacrilegious sketches in France and demanded expulsion of French ambassador. Later on, the protesters led by him dispersed peacefully after the government reportedly assured him to take action in the matter.
The TLP says that initially the government had assured to fulfill its promise of expelling the ambassador in February but later asked for time and finally agreed to fulfill its commitment by April 20. Rizvi had threatened to protest if the deadline was not met but the government as a precautionary measure took him in custody before the deadline.
''The government has resorted to thuggery and is restoring its past practices,'' he said, adding that the party leader Saad Rizvi had been arrested. Saad Rizvi emerged as the leader of TLP in November after the sudden death of his father, Khadim Hussein Rizvi. Rizvi's supporters have previously held violent rallies in Pakistan to pressure the government not to repeal the country's controversial blasphemy laws.
Tehreek-e-Labiak and other Islamist parties have denounced French President Emmanuel Macron since October last year, saying he tried to defend caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad as freedom of expression.
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