Extremist Islamic Party Releases 11 Pakistani Police Hostages

Lahore, Pakistan (AP) —Islamic illegal political groups in Pakistan released 11 police officers hostage in the eastern city of Lahore in almost a day in a fierce clash with security forces. Said the State’s Interior Minister on Monday.

Hard-liners Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistani party supporters attacked a police station near the rally and took police officers hostage on Sunday. The group has protested the arrest of leader Saad Lizbi and pressured the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to immediately expel the French envoy over the publication of controversial cartoons.

Initially, police said the protesting Muslims held five police officers hostage.

However, in a video message, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said supporters of Lizbi had actually taken 11 police officers hostage. They were released after the first successful negotiations with the government. The government has released a photo showing that police officers have been tortured.

The tension has garnered criticism from the entire Islamic world due to last year’s remarks by French leaders when he tried to defend the publication of caricatures of Islamic prophets in caricature newspapers.

According to Ahmad, demonstrators have blocked roads and highways in 192 locations since last Monday, but security forces have recently cleared 191 sit-ins. He hoped that as talks between the Lizbi representative and the Punjab government proceeded, the last problem in Lahore, where Lizbi supporters were still gathering, would be resolved.

Ahmad’s comment came hours hours after police and paramilitary groups shook batons, fired tear gas, cracked down on demonstrators with guns, killed three Muslims and injured dozens. Was done. Authorities said they responded to the attacks of Lizbi supporters on the police station and the arrest of 11 police officers, including Deputy Police Officer Umar Faroo Bharuch.

When the hostages were released, the government released a group photo of former POWs with bandages on their heads, hands, or arms. According to police, the kidnapped police officer was tortured by Lizbi’s men.

Angered by security forces’ actions against Lizbi’s supporters, the state’s religious parties announced a national strike, urged transporters to leave the road, and asked businessmen to keep the market closed on Monday. Prompted to. The appeal was partially responsive, but operations were closed in areas such as Lahore and Karachi, the capitals of southern Sindh.

Tensions are rising in Pakistan last week as supporters of Lizbi blocked the highway, killing four police officers in a police clash and paralyzing normal life in different parts of the country. At least six demonstrators have died so far, and the government has urged the media not to report on Lizbi’s illegal parties.

Representatives of journalists have accused the government of censorship of news coverage.

The government to respect what he said was February’s pledge to his party to expel the French envoy by April 20 over the publication of a portrayal of the Islamic Prophet in France. I was arrested the day after I asked for it.

The Lizbi Party said the government had agreed to an agreement to expel the French ambassador by April 20. Instead, the government arrested their leaders before the deadline. The government said it had only promised to discuss the issue in parliament.

The Lizbi Party has a history of holding violent rallies to influence the government in support of the country’s controversial blasphemy law. French President Emmanuel Macron has accused him of defending the portrait of the Prophet Muhammad as freedom of expression since October last year. Macron’s comment came after a young Muslim bowed to a teacher at a French school who showed a portrait of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

The image was republished by the caricature magazine Charlie Hebdo, marking the start of a trial against the 2015 deadly attack on the publication of the original caricature. It infuriated many Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere who believed their portrayals were blasphemous.


Ahmed reported by Islamabad