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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Tehreek-i-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan | The challenge extends to Pakistan, the Army still silent

The dispute gained momentum Sunday in different cities of Pakistan after the failed release the eve of an Islamist sit-in at the gates of the capital, while the army seemed reluctant to intervene in the crisis.
By late afternoon, thousands of supporters had joined the ranks of protesters who have occupied for three weeks a highway bridge at the gates of Islamabad.
Some armed with sticks, clamoring slogans, block the streets connecting Islamabad to the nearby city of Rawalpindi, paralyzing traffic at the expense of tens of thousands of travelers forced to spend hours in transport each day.
The day before, an attempt by the security forces to dislodge them with tear gas was short-circuited, prompting critical comments about a poorly prepared operation that resulted in at least seven deaths. people and some 230 wounded and reinforced the determination of the protesters.
Thousands were protesting at various points in Karachi and Lahore, as well as in many other cities in the country according to the media. Still modest figures throughout Pakistan, but which have only increased since the operation of Saturday.
In the port city of Karachi in the south, police evacuated several sit-ins early Sunday, but seven others were continuing, mobilizing nearly 5,000 protesters, according to local authorities. Same situation in Lahore (north-east), where more than 3,000 demonstrators were gathered Sunday in different points of the city, according to the municipal police.
Called Saturday night by the government to help the authorities to "maintain order in the territory of Islamabad", the powerful Pakistani army has still not expressed publicly, leaving nothing to filter his intentions.
No soldier was visible Sunday at the scene of the protest while law enforcement remained behind, according to an AFP journalist.
The demonstration is led by a little known religious group, Tehreek-i-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan (TLYRAP), which demands the resignation of the Minister of Justice, following a controversy over an amendment, finally abandoned that it links to the blasphemy law.
The leaders also seek to recruit other flocks in the name of "the honor of the prophet" Muhammad, the government would flout in their view by trying to dislodge them.

'Extremist attitude'

Riaz Shah, a native of Lahore, joined the ranks of the protest from the first day, November 6th.
"I'm a worker, I do not care if my wife and child are hungry, I do not care if they starve, for me nothing else matters but the honor of my prophet," he says. he asserts that he will not leave until the leaders of the movement have given him the order.
"Unfortunately, everything is the fault of these religious, their extremist attitude," is indignant conversely Maqbool Ahmed, a resident of Islamabad interviewed by AFP.
"They are just not interested in people, some have seen their business ruined, are unable to get to work, to the hospital, to send their children to school," he said.
For the Pakistanis, confusion over the events of the past few days has been heightened by the Saturday's decision by the broadcasting regulator to suspend the broadcast of news channels, which was lifted Sunday at the end of the day. The broadcast resumed immediately. Access to social networks, however, remained disrupted.
All educational institutions, schools or universities of Country, will remain closed Monday and Tuesday "because of the current situation".

'Dangerous people'

This crisis comes at a difficult time for the civil power, a few months after the fall for corruption of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and a few months of parliamentary elections that are uncertain.
The current government, led by a Sharif loyalist, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, has been under fire for several days for its clumsiness and slowness in managing the crisis, perceived as a sign of weakness in extremist movements in full swing.
The protesters are part of the barelvi sect, linked to Sufism, a mystical movement of Islam perceived as moderate.
But the execution last year of one of their members, Mumtaz Qadri, for the assassination of Pundjab Liberal Governor Salman Taseer because of his positions on the blasphemy law, led some of them to adopt a hard line about it.
"These are dangerous people with dangerous opinions, and (their presence) for more than two weeks is at least very disturbing. It says a lot about the influence and impunity enjoyed by religious extremists in Pakistan", said Analyst Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center in Washington, interviewed by AFP.

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