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Religious leaders announce nation-wide strike across Pakistan

Businessmen in Karachi are rallying behind the call of Mufti Muneeb ur Rahman for Wheel Jam Strike across the country after the Government’s recent steps.

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Religious leaders in Pakistan called for a one-day strike across the country on Monday, Apr. 19, to react to the use of excessive force that causes deaths.

Muḥammad Muneeb-ur-Rehman, a Pakistani Mufti and former chairman of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, announced with some religious leaders in Karachi that they will go on a one-day national strike to protest the clashes between police and supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party.

He also demanded that the government release the TLP supporters in custody and the ban on the party be lifted.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), said in a statement in the capital Islamabad that he condemned the incidents in Lahore and JUI will support the strike.

Read more: TLP protesters demand expulsion of French envoy

Muhammad Taqi Usmani, a Pakistani Islamic scholar and former judge who is Vice President and Hadith professor at Darul Uloom Karachi, reacted to the government’s harsh intervention against protesters.

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He said It is absolutely wrong for some people to attack the police, but the government must also be wise.

After the call of religious leaders, it was seen that thousands of people followed the strike decision and closed their workplaces.

Police clashes with TLP

On Sunday, several people including police personnel were injured during clashes with TLP supporters in Lahore. Clashes carried out when police were surrounded the group’s main office in the city and trying to free their hostages, who were taken by the group earlier on Sunday.

Pakistan on Thursday banned the far-right religious group after staging violent protests in major Pakistani cities for three days.

Read more: FactCheck: Did PTI’s Ali Muhammad Khan threaten to quit party if TLP not unbanned?

The religious group was demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador over offensive cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad published in France last year.

The country’s Interior Minister while announcing the ban, said the group has resorted to violence, carried out attacks on policemen and blocked roads and highways.

“We cannot do what they want. It will present Pakistan as a country of extremists in the world,” the minister said.

The government action comes two days after the arrest of Saad Rizvi, head of the TLP, sparked protests by his supporters.

At least four people, including two policemen, were killed and hundreds injured in pitched battles between the security forces and the TLP supporters across Pakistan in recent days. Thus, the number of people who lost their lives in demonstrations since April 12 increased to eight.

Read more: Govt. cannot be blackmailed by force: Fawad Hussain warns protestors

Protests had broken out in several Muslim countries over France’s response to the murder in October last year of a teacher who showed cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in class.

French President Emmanuel Macron said at the time that France would “not give up our cartoons” while accusing French Muslims of “separatism” and describing Islam as “a religion in crisis.”

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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