04/12/2016, 15.14
PAKISTAN
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Islamabad bans violent demonstrations by Islamic groups

The government took the decision yesterday to end violence by Muslim extremists who recently brought the capital to a standstill, following the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed murderer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Government of Pakistan has decided to ban all demonstrations in the capital Islamabad after rallies by Islamic extremists led to significant destruction of businesses and private property. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the ban is limited to the capital.

Yesterday’s move comes weeks after radical Islamists descended on Islamabad, blocking roads and clashing with police, to protest against the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed murderer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.

Qadri was a member of Salman Taseer’ security detail. In 2011, he gunned down the governor as the latter was leaving a restaurant in Islamabad.

He justified the action because of the governor’s stance against the blasphemy law and support for Asia Bibi, a Christian mother jailed for allegedly insulting the Prophet.

His plea for clemency was rejected by Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain. However, thousands of supporters praised him as a "national hero", and swamped the heart of the capital, until they were dispersed by police. Interior Minister Khan said that the government would not allow a repeat of the experience.

At the same time, Mr Khan said he was willing to meet with opposition leader Imran Khan, who vowed to hold a rally outside the residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the eastern city of Lahore if he did not resign over the Panama Papers scandal.

Millions of records and documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm suggest that important political and other figures have or had offshore accounts in tax havens, including the Sharif’s family.

In view of this, Prime Minister Sharif announced last week the establishment of an independent judicial commission, headed by a retired judge, to probe into his family’s alleged illegal offshore companies and property.

Unconvinced, Imran Khan called for the commission to be headed by Pakistan’s chief justice.

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