Pakistan hardliners vow no let up in paralysing blasphemy protests

“Wish Imran Khan had delivered similar speech in the last Faizabad dharna,” tweeted Balal Haider, referring to Khan’s silence during similar anti-blasphemy protests last year.

The demonstrations are being largely led by the TLP, which is known for its hardline stance on blasphemy issues.

TLP, founded in 2015, blockaded the capital Islamabad for several weeks last year calling for stricter enforcement of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.

That protest forced the resignation of the federal law minister and paved the way for the group to poll more than 2.23-million votes in the July 25 general election, in what analysts called a “surprisingly” rapid rise.

The TLP supremo Rizvi has also vowed to “wipe Holland off the face of the earth” over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed if TLP were able to secure power of the nuclear-armed country.

The protests come as Khan prepares to depart for a four-day trip to China, where he will likely seek financial assistance from Beijing to shore up the country’s deteriorating finances.

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