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Thousands attend funeral of hardline Pak religious leader

dpa
Islamabad
Tens of thousands attended funeral prayers on Saturday for a hardline Pakistani religious leader who rose to prominence for ferocious campaigns on the issue of blasphemy.
Thousands of people from across the country attended the funeral of Khadim Hussain Rizvi at the historic Minar-e-Pakistan grounds, in the eastern city of Lahore.   Rizvi, 54, was the founder of the far-right group Tehrrek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP). He died late on Thursday after a brief illness, according to the party.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and other leaders, including the army chief, issued their condolences.
The firebrand cleric rose to prominence in 2017 when his followers blocked Faizabad, a key entry point to Islamabad, for more than two weeks to protest against changes in the text of an oath for parliamentarians, which the party perceived as a softening of the official stance towards the minority Ahmadi sect.
The party staged massive protests against the 2018 acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was given a death sentence in 2010 on allegations of blasphemy.
Rizvi held massive rallies across the country in past weeks against France for publication in journals there of caricatures of the prophet Mohammad.
Earlier this week, Rizvi led thousands to demand the expulsion of the French ambassador to Pakistan.

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