Islamist protesters start to disperse as Pak law minister resigns | world news | Hindustan Times
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Islamist protesters start to disperse as Pak law minister resigns

Blockades by the anti-blasphemy group’s supporters in the cities of Karachi and Lahore were being lifted and life was returning to normal, local media reported.

world Updated: Nov 27, 2017 19:45 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Tehreek-i-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan,TLYRA,Khadim Hussain Rizvi
Supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan (TLYRAP) religious group listen to their leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi while as he announces the end of sit-in protest on a blocked flyover bridge during a press conference in Islamabad on Monday.(AFP)

The radical Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik called off its countrywide protests and its followers started to disperse peacefully in most cities on Monday after the resignation of Pakistan's law minister Zahid Hamid.

Blockades by the anti-blasphemy group’s supporters in the cities of Karachi and Lahore were being lifted and life was returning to normal, local media reported.

Karachi was blocked at 10 places while in Lahore there were 16 points where roads were blocked by the group which held a weeks-long protest in the capital Islamabad’s Faizabad area, demanding the ouster of Hamid over a hastily abandoned legislation that they considered blasphemous.

However, some points in Lahore continued to be blocked and it is expected that these would be opened by the end of the day.

Most schools, businesses and public transport took the day off but as the situation eased, many shops could be seen to be opening.

While the army continued to stay in the barracks, the military high command intervened on Sunday to have news channels re-opened.

Block was lifted on social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook also.

The TV channels and main social media sites had been shut down since Friday when the government launched an operation against the group who had been occupying the capital's busiest traffic intersection. At least seven people were killed and some 200 others injured in the operation.

Law minister Zahid Hamid on Sunday decided to resign after paramilitary Pakistan Rangers took control of many important streets and thoroughfares of Islamabad.

Radio Pakistan reported that the Rangers had also circled the Faizabad interchange on Sunday after clashes re-erupted between protestors and the Islamabad police.

Earlier, the government held negotiations with both the protestors on Faizabad interchange as well as with the military high command on how to end the crisis in the country.

A political settlement is reportedly being worked out between the government of Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi and Tehreek-e-Labbaik, which has been protesting what it called a pro-Ahmadi legislation, which had already been withdrawn.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 14:06 IST