Islamist party vows to fight to oust French ambassador from Pakistan Pakistan

An Islamic fundamentalist party in Pakistan has vowed to continue its fight against the French ambassador for publishing “insulting” cartoons in a satirical French magazine, following the government’s recent ban on the group for terrorism. Yet.

The warning came amid renewed violence on Sunday when pro-party Tehreek-e-Libek Pakistan (TLP) clashed with police, killing at least three people and injuring 20 others. Police accused the groups of holding officers hostage in the clashes. In a further statement on Sunday, the Taliban in Pakistan pledged its support for the expulsion of the ambassador in a statement.

This week, following nationwide protests, French citizens and companies were advised to leave Pakistan temporarily because of these concerns. The TLP demands that the government, led by the Prime Minister, Imran Khan, deport the French ambassador last year and boycott all French goods in Pakistan over the reprinting of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Fulfill the promise, which many people considered blasphemous. Muslim, in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

French President Emmanuel Macron had expressed support for the publication of cartoons in the name of free speech, which angered hardline Islamist groups in Pakistan, which called for a severance of all ties with France.

However, in compliance with his demands, despite Khan signing an agreement with the TLP in November, his government has since refused to expel the French ambassador, leading to Pakistan’s stay. Anger among TLP leaders and supporters has increased. Last week, millions of people took to the streets of cities across the country in TLP-led protests, killing two policemen and injuring more than 500.

In response, the government arrested hundreds of TLP activists, including the group’s leader Saad Rizvi, and banned the group as a “terrorist” organization on Thursday.

On Friday, following the announcement of the TLP ban, the group shut down social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, for several hours after thousands of people threatened to take to the streets. The government has also banned TLP media coverage.

But speaking to the Guardian, TLP spokesman in Lahore, Tayyab Rizvi, said the group’s ban would not stop the group’s efforts to expel the French ambassador. “We will challenge the ban in a court of law and march to Islamabad on April 20 to demand the government deport the French ambassador and boycott French products,” Rizvi said. About 700 TLP workers were arrested and more than a dozen were arrested and killed last week.

According to a police spokesman, violence continued on Sunday when TLP members attacked a police station in Lahore, hurled petrol bombs and kidnapped and brutally tortured the “deputy superintendent of police”. And injured 11 officers. TLP spokesman Shafiq Amini posted a video clip on social media saying that the police had gone to the group’s offices in Lahore from party supporters and several members of the group had been killed and others injured.

The TLP, formed in 2016, is one of the most radical Islamist parties in Pakistan, calling for the death penalty for blasphemers and strict adherence to Islamic Sharia law.

It has gained steady popularity in recent years, especially among Pakistan’s youth, and the group emerged in the last election as the third largest political party in terms of votes in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province. Its hardline religious agenda has widespread support in the Islamic country.

Khan’s decision to ban the TLP demonstrates the difficult lines that the prime minister has repeatedly tried to play with Pakistan’s hardline Islamic base while maintaining ties with the West. Is.

Even after the government’s decision to ban the group, Khan claimed on Twitter that the ban was due to violent actions in his “unconstitutional” demonstrations, not because of his religious agenda.

Asim Sajjad Akhar, a writer and political activist, said there was little reason to believe that there was any “political will” to ensure that the TLP would be banned and that the group was just a Will not be reborn under the new name. Banned militant Islamist organizations have clashed on several occasions in Pakistan.

“Over the last several years, the Pakistani state has been engaged in high-profile terrorism and a number of indiscriminate ‘counter-terrorism’ initiatives, but it is widely believed that some right-wing elements continue to sponsor elections,” Akhtar said.

As well as being a security threat, the TLP protests have also been seen as a worrying partner in the deadly coup d’tat that is plaguing Pakistan, with more than 6,000 new incidents unfolding daily. There are many experts who believe that due to lack of testing it is considered a weak.

TLP is not alone. Opposition parties, the PML-N and Khan’s PTI, have been holding rallies recently, where thousands of people have gathered without masks and at social distance.

Shahbaz Khetran, a research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Studies, Islamabad, said: “From the government to the opposition, everyone has been organizing demonstrations, power shows and large gatherings when it comes to taking epidemics lightly. So TLP is part of a broader mindset.

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