Islamic Extremists Stage Huge Protest in Pakistan

Hundreds of protesters are demanding strict Shariah law.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Hundreds of Islamic extremists resumed protests in Pakistan’s capital on Tuesday over the execution of a man who killed a secular governor, in a show of defiance amid a government crackdown following a suicide attack two days earlier.

The rally by Pakistan’s Sunni Tehreek group brought more than 10,000 protesters into the streets of Islamabad on Sunday, where they clashed with police. On Tuesday, local police official Mohammad Kashif said some 700 remained, bringing parts of the capital to a standstill.

The protesters are demanding strict Shariah law after the hanging of police officer Mumtaz Qadri, who killed Gov. Salman Taseer in 2011 over his opposition to the country’s far-ranging blasphemy laws. The protesters are also demanding the hanging of a Christian woman Taseer had defended against blasphemy allegations.

The government had vowed to crack down on extremism after a suicide bomber targeted Christians celebrating Easter in Lahore, killing more than 70 people. The attack was claimed by a breakaway Taliban faction that supports the Islamic State group. The army responded by launching raids in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital.

More than 300 suspects have been detained in the past 48 hours, a security official said. Another official confirmed nearly 300 arrests and said most of those detained were suspected members of outlawed extremist groups





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