Islamabad, Apr 14 (EFE).- The Pakistan government Wednesday said it would ban the Islamist group that organized deadly protests over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
At least three people lost their lives, and hundreds suffered injuries as Islamist protesters clashed with police in various areas over the past two days.
The clashes took place after members of the radical Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) took to the streets in major cities on Monday and Tuesday after police arrested their leader Saad Rizvi.
“Today, we have decided to ban the TLP,” Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid told reporters.
Rashid said the decision was awaiting a cabinet nod.
He said two policemen died, and 340 suffered injuries in the protests staged in multiple cities on Monday afternoon.
However, he did not speak about civilian casualties.
Lahore city police spokesperson Tana Arif told EFE Tuesday that a protester lost his life in the clashes.
TLP leader Saad Rizvi had given the ultimatum, asking the government to expel the French diplomat by Apr.20 over the cartoons that Islamists consider were blasphemous to the Prophet.
Police arrested him Monday, sparking protests in various cities across the country.
The protests paralyzed businesses in Pakistan and disrupted routine life across the country, particularly Punjab, the most populous province.
“Most of the roads in the province have been reopened,” provincial Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said in a statement.
But police said more clashes erupted on Wednesday in Lahore, the capital of Punjab.
The situation is orderly in other areas, including in the national capital of Islamabad, police said.
The Islamist party claims that the government in November last year agreed that it would cut off diplomatic ties with France and expel the French envoy.
The Islamist party had held protests over the reprinting of the alleged blasphemous cartoons.
French President Emmanuel Macron had defended it with some alleged insulting remarks about Islam in October last year.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had accused Macron of attacking and ridiculing Islam and hurting the sentiments of millions of Muslims across the world following his comments.
Macron made the remarks after a young Chechen Islamist, on Oct.16, beheaded a French schoolteacher for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils in a lesson about freedom of expression.