Islamabad: Violent clashes broke out in Capital city of Pakistan, Islamabad, after the little heard Hardline party Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan (TLYRAP) took to streets demanding the resignation of Pakistan’s law minister Zahid Hamid resign over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear.
In these clashes, atleast 139 people were injured and 1 person was killed. Demonstrators have linked the action of law minister to Blasphemy, a highly contentious issue in Pakistan, and claim the oath was softened to enable the participation of Ahmadis, a long-persecuted minority sect.
The protesters belong to the Barelvi sect of Islam. It has strong ties with Sufism, a moderate and mystical branch of the religion.
Political analyst Hasan Askari has said that “These people already had a grudge against the government and the government just provided them the opportunity to vent out their anger.”
8500 police and paramilitary rangers and frontier corps were deployed to clear the demonstrators. Smoke was filled in the air as tear gas shells were fired.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa called for both sides to avoid violence “as it is not in national interest”.
The government was accused by the critics, of bungling its response to the protest, and allowing a minor issue to grow into a headline-grabbing and potentially dangerous situation.