Pakistani Islamists free police hostages after anti-France protests Apr 20, 2021 0 282 12345 dpa IslamabadA radical Islamist group in Pakistan seeking the expulsion of the French ambassador have released 11 police officers they took hostage during protests, a top official said on Monday.Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), which supports the country’s controversial blasphemy laws, released the hostages after negotiations with the government overnight, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said.Hundreds of TLP activists, armed with petrol bombs and batons, remained holed up inside a mosque compound that serves as headquarters for the group in the city of Lahore.The TLP has been holding violent protests since late last year supporting the French ambassador’s expulsion in response to the publication in France of a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed.Pakistan’s government said it would discuss the demand in November, but has since refused to expel the envoy.Violent clashes erupted across Pakistan a week ago when police arrested the TLP’s chief to stop the group from marching on the capital Islamabad.The government on Wednesday banned the TLP under the country’s anti-terrorism laws, lumping them in with militant organizations including al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.Fresh protests erupted on Sunday when police backed by the paramilitary forces tried to uproot the last of the protest camps outside the group’s headquarters, Ahmed said.Videos circulating on social media show injured officers with bandages around their heads in the group’s custody.The TLP said three of its workers were killed in the Sunday clashes.The group rose to prominence in 2017 for its support of anti-blasphemy laws that seek a death sentence for those found guilty of insulting Islam or Mohammed. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Lockdown in New Delhi as India sees new virus record, migrants flee Apr 20, 2021 0 250 India added to UK’s ‘red list’ as PM Johnson cancels trip Apr 20, 2021 0 256 11 dead, 98 injured in Egypt train derailment Apr 20, 2021 0 825 O2 supply under stress as virus cases surge: Pak IslamabaD: Pakistan reported its highest count of coronavirus patients in critical condition to date on Monday and said oxygen supply capacity in the country was under “stress” amid a third wave of the pandemic. .. Iranian parliament temporarily halts work due to virus Tehran: Iran’s parliament must temporarily suspend its work due to the rapidly rising numbers of new coronavirus infections and deaths in the country. “Due to the fourth coronavirus wave and rising infection numbers, .. Saudi feminist activist receives Vaclav award Strasbourg: Saudi feminist activist Loujain Alhathloul has won the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, awarded by the Council of Europe on Monday. The award was accepted by the activist’s sister, Lina Alhathloul, who said .. Missing Russian climbers rescued from Nepal peak Kathmandu: Three Russian climbers who had gone missing near the summit of Mount Annapurna on Friday have been safely rescued, expedition officials say. The climbers were rescued between Camp 3 and Camp 4 of the peak .. Malaysia starts giving Covid jabs to elderly and ‘high risk’ groups Bangkok: Malaysia started the second phase of its Covid-19 vaccination programme on Monday, though only around one-quarter of 9.4 million people eligible have registered, according to the minister in charge. .. ‘China committing crimes against humanity in Xinjiang’ dpa Beijing Because of the persecution of the Muslim minority Uighurs, the human rights organization Human Rights Watch has called on the international community to impose tougher sanctions on China. In a report .. 3 militants killed for executing Egyptian Christian in Sinai dpa Cairo Egyptian security forces have killed three militants believed to be behind the execution of a Christian man in the restive province of North Sinai, the Interior Ministry said on Monday. The Islamic State ..