No mass demonstrations or significant disruptions were reported across Pakistan on Saturday, November 3, after Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) signed a deal with the government the previous evening. The agreement followed days of unrest in response to the acquittal of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, previously sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. According to media reports, traffic has normalized in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi and schools have reopened. As of Saturday evening (local time) it is unclear if the Tehreek-i-Labbail Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) Ashraf Jalili faction, an offshoot within the TLP, has signed a separate agreement with the government. Some media sources reported that TLYR supporters held a sit-in at Data Darbar earlier in the day.
Despite the agreement between TLP and the government, as well as calls for calm from religious groups such as the Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat, protests may continue over the coming days. An increased security presence and traffic disruptions remain likely throughout Pakistan. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.
TLP leaders agreed to end the mass protests after government officials promised to initialize the process to place Asia Bibi's name on the Exit Control List (ECL). The government has also agreed to allow petitioners to file reviews of the Supreme Court's decision in the blasphemy case and to release all prisoners arrested during protests.
The mass demonstrations broke out on October 31 after the Supreme Court acquitted a Christian woman previously sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, resulting in clashes with security forces, roadblocks, and rail and flight disruptions across the country.
Individuals in Pakistan are advised to closely monitor developments as the situation remains precarious and the security environment could again deteriorate with little notice. It is advisable to anticipate potential transportation disruptions (including flight delays and cancelations), be prepared to shelter in place, avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence, and refrain from discussing sensitive religious and political topics in public.
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