Radical Islamists take Pakistani safety personnel hostage amid lethal clashes

The tensions driving the protests, led by the Islamist occasion Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan, have been simmering for months after French President Emmanuel Macron honored a instructor who was beheaded final yr in France after he confirmed a category the cartoons depicting Muhammad. For a lot of Muslims, depictions of the prophet are blasphemous and deeply insulting.

Macron’s feedback sparked protests throughout the Muslim world final yr. In Pakistan, Tehrik-e-Labbaik demanded that authorities ban the import of French merchandise and expel the French ambassador. Protests earlier this yr have been quelled solely when Pakistani authorities agreed to contemplate the group’s calls for, pledging to decide by April 20.

Because the deadline approached, Pakistan’s Inside Ministry arrested the group’s chief, Saad Rizvi, citing intelligence that he and his followers deliberate assaults on April 20 if the French ambassador was not expelled.

The arrest sparked one other spherical of nationwide protests, which turned violent when protesters blocked highways main out and in of main cities. Prime Minister Imran Khan responded by banning Tehrik-e-Labbaik and all tv protection of the protests.

However pictures of the violence unfold on social media by way of dozens of movies, some depicting folks carrying away the injured. The movies couldn’t be independently verified by The Washington Submit.

On Thursday, the French Embassy suggested all French nationals and firms to briefly depart Pakistan “as a result of severe threats to French pursuits,” based on an Agence France-Presse report.

George reported from Kabul.

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