Delay in hearing Asia Bibi’s appeal was ‘regrettable’
Asia Bibi

A cleric who led violent protests to protest the acquittal of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman involved in blasphemy charges, was on Saturday charged with terrorism and sedition offences.

Last month, Khadim Hussain Rizvi and his party Tehreek-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) had led violent protests after the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty for Asia Bibi. They burned cars and buses and blocked major roads as they called for her execution.

According to AFP, Rizvi was detained on November 24 after police launched a crackdown on hundreds of his supporters in Punjab province and Karachi.

Fawad Chaudhry, federal minister for information and broadcasting told reporters in Islamabad that sedition and terrorism charges had been made against Rizvi.

“Other people who were directly involved in destruction of properties, insulting women and snatching their purses, burning buses, have been charged in terrorism cases,” he said. Reportedly, more than 3,000 people had been arrested in connection with the TLP protests.

Blasphemy is a hugely inflammatory issue in Pakistan, where even unproven allegations of insulting Islam and Prophet Mohammed can lead to lynchings.