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.


Nepalese climbers bag mountaineering’s last great prize: winter ascent of Pakistan’s K2

Updated 48 min 3 sec ago

Nepalese climbers bag mountaineering’s last great prize: winter ascent of Pakistan’s K2

  • One of the ten Nepalese mountaineers performed the feat without using an oxygen cylinder
  • K2 earned the nickname of ‘savage mountain’ since a large number of climbers lost their lives while trying to scale it

ISLAMABAD: A group of Nepalese climbers made history on Saturday by summiting the world’s second tallest mountain, K2, in winter, according to its team leader who made the announcement on Facebook only minutes after making the accomplishment. 

“The Karakorum’s ‘Savage Mountain’ has been summited in the most dangerous season: WINTER,” Chhang Dawa Sherpa exclaimed in his social media post.

His announcement was also confirmed by an official of the Alpine Club of Pakistan which deals with mountaineering expeditions in the country.

At 8,611 meters, K2 was the only peak among the 14 “8000ers” located in the Karakorum and Himalayan mountain ranges that remained unconquered during winter. 

Along the icy glaciers of the Karakoram, mountaineers and locals speak about K2 summits with a hushed reverence, and folklore in the area is rife with mythical stories of the mountain “permitting” climbers to reach its top — considered the ultimate honor granted to a mortal by nature. 

When a climb doesn't go as planned, locals tell each other the mountain refused to be scaled. 

“The Nepalese climbers finally reached the summit of Mt. K2 … this afternoon at 17:00 local time,” Dawa wrote. “This is the first winter ascent of the 2nd highest mountain in the world and the ONLY eight-thousander (8000er) to be climbed in winter. This is a greatest achievement in the history of mountaineering, this is a good example of team work … ‘If a mountain lets you climb it, no one can stop you.’” 

One of the ten Nepalese climbers, Mingma G, also became the first mountaineer to summit the peak in winter without an oxygen cylinder.

K2 earned the nickname of “savage mountain” since a large number of climbers — 86 in all — lost their lives while trying to scale it. 

In 2008, 11 climbers from an international expedition died in what was considered as the single worst accident in the history of mountaineering. 

K2 straddles the Pakistan-China border. While it is about two-and-a-half football fields shorter than Everest (8,848 meters), it is widely considered to be the toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb. 

More than 300 climbers have scaled K2 in spring and summer. Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli were the first to reach its summit in the summer of 1954.