Don’t clash with state, Pakistan’s PM Khan warns protesters

Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation on television. (File photo, courtesy PM's Office)
Updated 01 November 2018
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Don’t clash with state, Pakistan’s PM Khan warns protesters

  • A small segment of society is inciting masses, PM Khan said
  • TLP supporters are protesting against the apex court verdict to free Christian woman

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, warned protesters not take the law into their own hands. “I appeal to these elements ... do not clash with the state.”
He said the apex court verdict that Christian woman Asia Bibi, who was in jail on blasphemy charges but won her appeal against the death sentence, was according to the constitution.
The prime minister added that a small segment of society is inciting the masses for their own political purposes.
“Let me make it clear to you ... the state will fulfil its duty and protect people’s lives and properties,” he said. “I appeal to you ... do not take the state to a level where it has no option but to initiate action.” 
Khan said that the language being used against the Supreme Court judges who announced the verdict and against  Army Chief General Qammar Javed Bajwa was unbearable.
“Saying that the judges of the Supreme Court are ‘Wajib ul Qatl’ (liable to be killed) and that the army chief is a ‘non-Muslim,’ and calling for a revolt against the chief justice and army chief ... This is unacceptable,” the PM said.
The central leader of the far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party (TLP), Afzal Qadri, issued a decree against the judges who released Asia.
Supporters of Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a hard-line cleric and chief of the TLP, are demonstrating against the verdict, holding sit-in protests in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and leading protest rallies in Islamabad and other cities. Clashes between the protesters and police have been reported.
The area known as Red Zone in Islamabad, where the Supreme Court, Parliament and other important building are located, has been sealed off to keep protesters away from the court.
Bibi was the first woman in the country who had been given the death sentence for blasphemy.
The three-member bench headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Saqib Nisar reversed two lower-court verdicts against Bibi and said she would be set free if she is not wanted in relation to any other case.


Pakistan rescues four Iranian soldiers from militant group: army

Updated 33 min 56 sec ago
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Pakistan rescues four Iranian soldiers from militant group: army

  • The statement said the soldiers were being handed over to Iranian authorities
  • The incident comes months after the Sunni militantn group Jaish Al-Adl abducted 12 Iranian security personnel in October last year

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has rescued four Iranian soldiers being held captive by a militant group in the country’s restive southwest, the military said in a statement Thursday.
The rescue took place in Chaghi district of Balochistan province, near the Afghan border, the statement said.
“Terrorists of a proscribed organization were reported to have entered Pakistan from Afghanistan side along with abducted Iranian soldiers,” it said.
“After exchange of fire, four Iranian soldiers (were) recovered,” it continued.
The statement said the soldiers were being handed over to Iranian authorities, though it did not say when. It also did not say what date the rescue took place, or name the group holding the soldiers.
The incident comes months after the Sunni militantn group Jaish Al-Adl abducted 12 Iranian security personnel in October last year near the border.
Five of them were later released and handed back to Iran by Islamabad.
Relations between Pakistan and Iran recently suffered another blow after Tehran said a Pakistani suicide bomber was behind a February 13 attack that killed 27 Revolutionary Guards in its volatile southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.
Jaish Al-Adl, which Tehran says operates mostly out of bases in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the blast.