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Pakistani anti-terror court grants bail to leaders of banned religious outfit

ISLAMABAD — Days after violent protests by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) involving death of a number of policemen in Punjab, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore on Saturday granted bail to several leaders of the banned religious outfit.

Earlier in October, the TLP began a protest march calling for the release of the group’s leader Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, who has been under arrest since April. The group also wanted expulsion of the French ambassador to Pakistan over publication of blasphemous caricatures in a French satirical magazine last year.

The group reached a deal with the government last Sunday, ending more than a week of clashes with police that left at least six policemen dead and scores injured on both sides.

The details of the deal between the government and the TLP have not been shared with the public by either side but have been widely reported by the local media. The agreement includes a commitment by the government to release TLP leaders and supporters who are currently under arrest. 

Cases were registered against several TLP leaders after the latest round of violent protests. 

“Those who were granted bail included Maulana Farooqul Hassan, Ghulam Ghaus Baghdadi, Pir Zahirul Hassan, Maulana Sharifuddin, Engineer Hafeezullah Alvi, Maulana Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Badar Munir, Qari Ashraf, Mohammad Akbar, Muzaffar Hussain, Mohammad Umar and Muzammil Hussain,” the Pakistani media reported. “The court directed all TLP leaders to submit bail bonds of Rs100,000 each.”

Government’s special prosecutor Abdul Rauf Watoo argued against the granting of bail.

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