Pakistan's Islamist Hard-Liners Agree To Stop Protests, Appeal Blasphemy Verdict

Islamist hard-liners angered by the acquittal of a Christian woman for blasphemy in Pakistan say they are ending mass protests after reaching a deal with the government. Pir Ijaz Qadri, spokesman for the Tehrik-e Labaik Pakistan party (TLP) late on November 2 said the party is calling off sit-ins by thousands of protesters in major cities that for three days had blocked major highways and caused gridlock across the country. The demonstrations broke out after the Supreme Court of Pakistan on October 31 overturned a blasphemy conviction for Asia Bibi, a Roman Catholic mother of four, who spent eight years on death row. The court said there was insufficient evidence Bibi committed blasphemy, an offense punishable by death in Pakistan. The court decision drew praise from Christians and rights activists around the world, but angered hard-line Muslims.

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