Pakistan issues 'last warning' to Islamists blocking route into capital

Pakistan issues last warning to Islamists blocking route into capital

Pakistan issues last warning to Islamists blocking route into capital

Hundreds of supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party have been blocking the route into Islamabad for almost 10 days, demanding the minister of law be sacked for what they say is blasphemy.

"I am appealling for the last time to the protesters to end their blockade and make way for the people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi", said Ahsan Iqbal earlier. Moreover, police also placed more containers on the capital's main highway, blocking the road from both sides in order to deter protesters from entering the city. "After this final announcement, you all are being warned to end the illegal sit-in immediately".

Tehreek-e-Labaik places blame on the minister, Zahid Hamid, for making modifications to a electoral pledge which it claims comes down to pure blasphemy. The government has said the issue arose due to a clerical error.

Pakistan's blasphemy law is a lightning rod for Islamists, especially since 2011 when the liberal governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was murdered by a bodyguard for questioning it.

A spokesperson with the Labaik party, Ejaz Ashrafi, declined to conform with this actual order, saying that "We are not moving", this individual informed CTN NEWS by telephone from the sit-in.

A govt official, Khalid Abbasi, stated that the demonstrators have setup pickets en route that they're occupying, these pickets are operated and manned by party members holding metal rods and only sticks. Since they were given the warning, he said, hundreds more party workers had joined the sit-in.

Back in 2007, a conflict involving government bodies and proponents associated with radical preachers in an Islamabad mosque resulted in deaths in excess of 100 men and women.

"All methods may be used to split this particular sit-in", deputy commissioner's forewarning explained.

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