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Minorities in Pakistan Wait as Hard-Line Islamic Cleric Indicted


Friday, 6 December 2019 17:05 WIB

Global


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Minorities in Pakistan are anxiously awaiting the final court ruling against a hardline cleric who was indicted last month on charges of sedition and terrorism for inciting nationwide protests in Pakistan.

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Pakistan's Punjab province formally charged Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), an extremist political party, but has not yet given a date for its final ruling.

Analysts predict that it will take some time, given the sensitivity of blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

ATC was established in 1998 as a separate court, under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government to address crimes related to terror in a speedy manner. 

The latest indictment against Rizvi comes a year after Pakistan's Supreme Court's decision in 2018 in which Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of committing blasphemy, was acquitted of the charges. Rizvi's party took issue with the ruling, demanding that the court proceed with the initial charges and sentence Bibi to death for insulting the prophet of Islam.

After spearheading large protests in the country that blocked several cities, the government last year took measures, cracked down on TLP's members, and arrested its leader, Rizvi after he openly urged his supporters to target the Supreme Court judges for their decision in Asia's case.

Source : VOA


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