Pakistan arrests 1,100 supporters of detained Tehreek-e-Labbaik cleric

In this Nov. 24, 2017 file photo, the head of the Pakistani Tehreek-e-Labbaik radical religious party, Khadim Hussain Rizvi prays during a sit-in protest in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP)
Updated 24 November 2018
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Pakistan arrests 1,100 supporters of detained Tehreek-e-Labbaik cleric

MULTAN, Pakistan: Police in an ongoing crackdown arrested some 1100 supporters of a detained radical Islamic cleric, who disrupted daily life with nationwide rallies following the acquittal of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, officials said Saturday.
Senior police officer Tahir Mahmood said that supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party were picked up in sweeps across the country, mainly in Punjab province, following the arrest of its leader, Khadim Hussain Rizvi. Mahmood said police teams raided Labbaik party seminaries, the homes of party leaders and supporters and hiding places to net them.
He said police also arrested scores of Rizvi's supporters as they took to streets to protest his overnight arrest. He said most of the arrested men were sent to prison for one month.
He added that those charged with violence and arson in their protests over Asia Bibi's acquittal would be dealt with according to relevant laws.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the current crackdown on Labbaik party supporters has nothing to do with Asia Bibi's case. He said the arrests are being made to contain those exploiting the situation in the name of religion to gain political strength.
Rizvi's supporters held violent rallies against the Supreme Court's Oct. 31 acquittal of Bibi Rizvi has called for more protests on Sunday in the capital, Islamabad. Pre-empting the possible protest, police in the capital have set up security posts near a vital intersection that connects the capital with the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Rizvi and his supporters earlier this year blocked that intersection for 20 days protesting the change of a religious reference in a parliamentary document. That protest led to the resignation of the law minister of previous government.
Pakistan's hard-liners have threatened to kill anyone who insults Islam or speaks out against the country's blasphemy laws.


Venezuelans fleeing crisis deserve refugee status: UN

Updated 21 May 2019
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Venezuelans fleeing crisis deserve refugee status: UN

  • UN urged other states not to deport or force them back
  • “It is incredibly important that given the situation in Venezuela that there aren’t deportations, expulsions or forced returns,” UNHCR said

GENEVA: Venezuelans fleeing the worsening crisis in their country deserve protection as refugees, the United Nations refugee agency said in updated guidance issued on Tuesday.
It urged other states not to deport or force them back.
Some 3.7 million people have left Venezuela, the majority since 2015, it said. “It is incredibly important that given the situation in Venezuela that there aren’t deportations, expulsions or forced returns,” UNHCR spokeswoman Liz Throssell told a news briefing.