Protests continue in Pakistan over ‘blasphemous caricatures’, 4 cops killed

Lahore/Karachi: At least four policemen were killed during the clashes as violence erupted across Pakistan over demand of the expulsion of a French envoy over the publication of alleged blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, according to media reports.

The police also used baton-charge on the demonstrators. Violence erupted across Pakistan after security forces fired bullets and tear gas shells on protesters as the country has been facing civil unrest.

The situation turned volatile after the arrest of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) Chief Saad Hussain Rizvi on April 12 in Lahore.

Reports indicate that over two dozen TLP activists have been killed in police firing during the clashes.

Interior Minister of Pakistan, Sheikh Rashid on Wednesday announced that the government has decided to ban the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, whose supporters and workers have been carrying out violent protests across the country for three days after the arrest of their chief. TLP is a hardline religious group with a massive following across Pakistan.

According to Geo News, the police on Wednesday arrested 120 people, belonging to a religious organisation, for staging a protest, creating chaos in the city, and resorting to violence.

According to a police spokesperson, 30 people were taken into custody from the city’s South Zone, 60 from the East Zone, while 47 demonstrators were arrested from Karachi’s West Zone.

According to the Pakistani media, the French Embassy in Pakistan on Thursday advised all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country, after violent anti-France protests paralysed large parts of the country this week.

TLP has been demanding expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan over the publication of ‘blasphemous caricatures’ in the Charlie Hebdo magazine and remarks about Islam and terrorism by French President Emmanuel Macron.

According to media reports, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government signed an agreement with the TLP in November last agreeing to expel the French Ambassador.

The TLP launched a massive protest in November last year against the cartoons but dispersed after the agreement with the government to expel the Ambassador by February. The deal was extended until April 20. (Agencies)

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