Tens of thousands attend funeral of hardline Pakistani cleric in Lahore

Activists and supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) gather for the funeral prayer of Khadim Hussain Rizvi, founder of TLP, in Lahore on November 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 21 November 2020

Tens of thousands attend funeral of hardline Pakistani cleric in Lahore

  • Rizvi’s son, Saad Rizvi, has been appointed the next leader of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan
  • The cleric's critics accuse him of weaponizing the issue of blasphemy in a country where religious sensitivities usually run high

ISLAMABAD: Tens of thousands of people gathered near a prominent national monument in Lahore on Saturday to offer the funeral prayers of the founding leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who died at the age of 54 on Thursday.
Rizvi’s son, Saad Rizvi, has been appointed new leader of the group.
Rizvi’s last political activity was to lead an anti-France demonstration on the outskirts of Islamabad to protest the publication of caricatures disparaging Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The cause of his death could not be determined, though it was claimed that he was suffering from high fever and experienced breathing difficulties before his death.
Most people who participated in his funeral were not wearing face masks, though the country has been swept by a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and most cities have made it mandatory for their residents to take precautionary measures at public places.
The TLP party emerged after Mumtaz Qadri, a police commando, assassinated Punjab governor Salman Taseer in Jan. 2011 for defending a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for committing blasphemy.
Rizvi and his associates launched a campaign for Qadri’s release, saying he had acted to protect the honor of the Prophet (pbuh).
Anti-blasphemy protests organized by TLP in 2017 paralyzed Islamabad for several weeks, and were only dispersed after a military-brokered deal. Rizvi and his party also held nationwide protests against Bibi’s acquittal in Oct. 2018.
Pakistan’s mainstream media usually avoid covering TLP protests, but the group reached the masses through social media.
A controversial preacher who used strong language to revile his critics, Rizvi was accused of weaponizing the issue of blasphemy in a country where religious sensitivities usually run high.
His recent demonstration forced the government to consider the possibility of expelling the French ambassador after taking up the issue in parliament.


Pakistani Twitter rejoices as archrival India beats Australia in cricket win for the ages

Updated 29 min 31 sec ago

Pakistani Twitter rejoices as archrival India beats Australia in cricket win for the ages

  • Pakistan and India are political foes and have one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world
  • Tuesday’s win by India was unequivocally cheered by Pakistani cricket fans who called it “one of the greatest test match wins of all time”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani social media users rejoiced on Tuesday as India bagged an incredible three-wicket win in the fourth test decider against Australia.

India’s Rishabh Pant timed his innings to perfection, ramping up the aggression in a stellar 89 as India stormed to a record 328-run chase at the Gabba and became the first team to beat the hosts at the Brisbane stronghold since the West Indies in 1988.

Pakistan and India are political archrivals and fierce opponents in the cricket field. But Tuesday’s win was unequivocally cheered by Pakistani cricket fans on Twitter, who called it one of “the greatest test series and test match wins of all time.”

“From 36 all out in the same series to winning it on Australia soil. Wow,” former cricketer and fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar wrote.

“Investing in your players, giving them financial security, protecting them, giving them exposure, having A team tours is eventually bound to pay off. Well done India,” said cricket manager Rehan ulHaq.

“India basically pulled off one of the greatest test series and test match wins of all time,” said Uzair Younus, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “To win Down Under [Australia] is an achievement on its own. But to do it when several first-team players are out injured is a whole new level of achievement. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.”

“Given results, their injuries, and lack thereof of the home side, this Indian team is probably the greatest from South Asia to tour Australia,” said Umair Javed, an assistant professor at LUMS, Pakistan’s most prestigious private university.

“Cricket is the winner (and Australia the loser),” Javed said in another tweet.

“What a fight back by Indian cricket team in the series, they’ve played quality cricket. From 36-all out in first test to 2-1 up. Commendable. Love and respect from Pakistan,” Twitter user Taliha said, posting one of thousands of tweets praising the Indian team’s performance.

“Tremendous cricket by Indians,” Haider Rasool wrote. “Love from Pakistan.”

One Indian Twitter user posted: “Thank you Pakistan. Today’s win is ever more special because of support from neighbor.”

Strained relations between the two nations, who were one country before the partition of British India split them into India and Pakistan in 1947, and a decades-long dispute over the Himalayan valley of Kashmir conflict, has laid the foundations of one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world.

Pakistan and Indian have not played a bilateral Test series since 2008 when already brittle ties were shattered by the Mumbai terror attacks.