Khadim Hussain Rizvi, instigator of hatred against Asia Bibi, arrested

The Minister of Information: "Safeguarding public life, property and order". Law enforcement officials stopped the preacher before a demonstration in Islamabad. The arrest is not connected to the case of the Christian woman acquitted by blasphemy charges. Islamists promise more demonstrations.


Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Pakistani police have arrested Khadim Hussain Rizvi (photo), an Islamist religious and leader of the radical party Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (Tlp). The political formation has recently paralyzed the country with violent protests, followed by the acquittal of Asia Bibi on blasphemy charges.

Pakistani Information Minister, Fawad Chaudhry, announced yesterday that the police stopped the preacher, before he took part in an event scheduled in Islamabad. "Khadim Hussain Rizvi - reads the short note - was taken into custody by the police and transferred to a department". The minister added that the purpose of the arrest is "to safeguard public life, property and order" and that the provision "has nothing to do with the case of Asia Bibi".

The Supreme Court decision has unleashed furious demonstrations led by the Tlp: the protesters, who asked for the execution of the Christian woman, blocked the main streets leaving  wide swathes of the country paralyzed. In response, the government has signed an agreement with the Islamists to impose a travel ban on Asia Bibi, who awaits the outcome of a final review of her case outside the prison.

The Tlp promised to return to the streets if she were allowed to leave the country. In a video message published yesterday, one of the political leaders, Pir Afzal Qadri, has called new protests. He said police had arrested dozens of party workers in the port city of Karachi and parts of the central Punjab province, including Lahore.