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Pakistan calls in paramilitary after deadly protests

Pakistan calls in 
paramilitary after deadly protests

Pakistan on Tuesday called in paramilitary forces to break up protests by radical Islamists seeking the expulsion of the French ambassador over the publication of caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in France last year.
Paramilitary Rangers would back police in the central province of Punjab, where three people were killed in protests by members of the far-right Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) group, police official Abdul Waheed said.
Thousands of TLP activists blocked highways and chocked streets in major cities on Monday after the group’s leader Saad Rizvi was arrested for warning the government to expel the French ambassador.
The government promised to discuss the expulsion in November, when thousands of TLP activists blocked one of the major entrances to the capital Islamabad.
Police on Tuesday pushed back protestors to reopen highways linking the cities, but several parts of the city of Lahore remained under their control, Waheed said.
TLP activists, who have violent protests and sit-ins to put pressure on the government in the past, clashed with police in the southern city of Karachi, police official Rab Nawaz said.
The protests briefly suspended critical oxygen supply to Lahore hospitals and clinics treating Covid-19 patients overnight, but the supply was restored under police guard.     The caricatures were first published in the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015, causing protests.
Any depiction of Mohammed is forbidden in Islam and is deemed offensive by Muslims.