Supporters march from Lahore to Islamabad for the release of leader Saad Rizvi

Lahore, Oct 22 (AP) Thousands of supporters on Friday began a “long march” from Lahore to Islamabad demanding the release of banned party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan president Saad Rizvi.

The people involved in the rally want to go to Islamabad so that they can put pressure on the Pakistan government for the release of Rizvi. Rizvi was arrested last year amid protests against France for making cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

The government deployed police and paramilitary forces to prevent the protesters from moving beyond Lahore. Simultaneously, mobile services were suspended and roads were closed in many parts of Lahore.

The situation in Lahore remained tense and there were clashes between police and protesters at many places.

On behalf of Rizvi’s party, it was said that they were taking out a peaceful march and the police suddenly fired tear gas shells. However, there was no immediate report of any casualty to any policeman or protester.

Meanwhile, Islamabad’s main highway was blocked with large containers and nearby roads were also closed to prevent protesters from entering towns and villages close to the capital. Lahore is about 350 km from Islamabad.

Most of the people involved in the rally were walking while many tried to take the help of cars and buses to reach Islamabad.

Rizvi’s party leader Ajmal Qadri said on Friday that his supporters decided to take out the march after talks with the government over Rizvi’s release failed.

AP Shafiq Uma

Uma

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