Pakistan opens murder case against Canada-based anti-government cleric after police killed in protests

Published: August 10, 2014

Canadian-based cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri waves to Pakistani supporters in Lahore on August 10, 2014. Pakistani police on August 10, 2014 charged a populist, anti-government cleric with murder after a policeman was killed during clashes with his supporters. Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

ZAHEER BABAR
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistani authorities have opened a murder investigation against an anti-government cleric after a police officer was killed in clashes with the cleric’s supporters, a top Pakistani official said Sunday.

The clashes and murder investigation are part of escalating tensions in Pakistan where two high-profile figures — the cleric and cricket legend-turned-politician Imran Khan — have called for the government’s ouster. Both are calling for a march on the capital Islamabad on Thursday, vowing to bring thousands of people into the streets and throw the government into crisis.

The cleric, Tahir-ul-Qadri, is from Pakistan but also spends time in Canada. He has a network of mosques and religious schools across Pakistan with thousands of followers. Last year his followers camped out in the centre of the capital for three days, in a protest demanding electoral reforms ahead of the May national election.

His call for a military-backed transitional government at the time raised questions about whether he was backed by the country’s powerful military, charges Qadri has denied. He returned from Canada in June this year, vowing to lead a revolution to topple the government.

The murder investigation stems from clashes Friday and Saturday during which Qadri’s supporters battled with police. The supporters were on their way to a rally held Sunday in Lahore, the provincial capital.

Qadri’s supporters say eight of his followers were killed in the violence while authorities said two people, including one police officer, died.

Rana Mashhood, the provincial minister of Punjab province, said authorities opened the case against Qadri on Sunday, based on recordings of him and media reports in which Mashhood said the cleric incited people to violence.

A spokesman for Qadri, Shahid Mursaleen, dismissed the case, saying that the government was trying to pressure Qadri to drop his protest.

“They are trying everything to stop him,” he said.

Under the Pakistani legal system, authorities must first register or open a case before they can arrest a person although it doesn’t necessarily mean an arrest would follow.

During the rally, Qadri called on thousands of his followers to march on the capital on Thursday, in a bid to oust the government. Khan has vowed to bring hundreds of thousands of his supporters into the streets on the same day, which is Pakistan’s independence day.

The government has been scrambling to deal with the double challenge posed by Qadri and Khan. They’ve brought in shipping containers to close off sections of Islamabad. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he’s ready to negotiate with Khan, who alleges that the nationwide election last year was widely rigged and is demanding a new vote.

Related stories:

 

16:23ET 10-08-14

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

crime-British Columbia

Three arrested after Surrey RCMP-involved shooting in Newton

AMY REID SURREY NOW NEWTON — Three people are in custody following a police-involved shooting in Newton Friday afternoon. Shortly after noon, plainclothes officers attempted to…
Continue Reading »

Immigrant-language test

Woman loses Canadian citizenship for failing language, knowledge tests after it was granted in error

ADRIAN HUMPHREYS POSTMEDIA NEWS A would-be Canadian who received a grade of zero out of six on her citizenship language test and four out of…
Continue Reading »

India-Kashmir-Obama

Pakistani PM Sharif asks Obama to play role for resolution of Kashmir issue

MUNIR AHMED THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday asked the U.S. President Barack Obama to play a role in…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

crime-British Columbia

Three arrested after Surrey RCMP-involved shooting in Newton

AMY REID SURREY NOW NEWTON — Three people are in custody following a police-involved shooting in Newton Friday afternoon. Shortly after noon, plainclothes officers attempted to…
Continue Reading »

Whitecaps2

Spice Sports: Whitecaps announce new USL PRO team!

GOPI AND THE GORA FOR VANCOUVER DESI An exciting announcement was made this morning at UBC’s Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre. Soccer fans in Vancouver will…
Continue Reading »

Immigrant-language test

Woman loses Canadian citizenship for failing language, knowledge tests after it was granted in error

ADRIAN HUMPHREYS POSTMEDIA NEWS A would-be Canadian who received a grade of zero out of six on her citizenship language test and four out of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

desi bride loaded in gold

Indian bride draws flak for wearing $700,000 jewellery at her wedding

CEN AGENCY An Indian sweet maker made sure his daughter was the golden girl at her upcoming wedding by covering her in gold jewellery worth…
Continue Reading »

India

Video: Bear mauls Indian farmer to death, injures second man (Warning: Graphic Content)

VANCOUVER DESI An Indian farmer was mauled to death and another left seriously injured after a terrifying and unusual bear attack in Karnataka on Monday,…
Continue Reading »

Spiderman

Video: India’s real-life Spiderman scales buildings with bare hands

VANCOUVER DESI A 27-year-old man in India who is nicknamed the “real-life Spiderman” has become one of Karnataka’s leading tourist attractions for his ability to effortlessly…
Continue Reading »

desi victim

Victim of ski accident to open spinal-cord recovery centre in Richmond (w/video)

NICK EAGLAND VANCOUVER DESI Dhruv Kapoor realized he was in deep trouble as he barrelled down a ski run in Russell, Man., on an icy…
Continue Reading »

op-ed

Aziza Sindhu: How do you grieve for a tyrant father?

AZIZA SINDHU CALGARY HERALD My father, Salim M. Sindhu, passed away on Nov. 10. As a child, I wished he smiled at me, as a…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Aamir Khan and Deepika Padukone the next hit Bollywood couple?

HINDUSTAN TIMES Bollywood actors Aamir Khan and Deepika Padukone are known to deliver hits on their shoulders alone. Now, audiences may be in for a…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex video

I can’t take nonsense: Sonakshi Sinha on why she lashed out at KRK on Twitter (w/gallery)

HINDUSTAN TIMES Some Bollywood stars tend to be diplomatic about controversies, and choose not to react. Sonakshi Sinha isn’t one of them. Last month, she…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood wedding reception

Photos: Khan-tastic wedding reception for Salman’s sister Arpita

VANCOUVER DESI While celebrities have reached the wedding reception for Salman Khans sister Arpita and businessman Aayush Sharma to wish them their best, photos have…
Continue Reading »