News Alerts

05 Nov 2018 | 10:31 AM UTC

Pakistan: Further protests expected despite lessening tensions /update 8

Pakistan News Alert

Further protests can be expected in the coming days despite a current lessening in tensions; security environment could deteriorate again with little to no notice

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/5/2018, 12:00 AM until 11/12/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Karachi). COUNTRY/REGION Pakistan

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Event

No further mass demonstrations or significant disruptions to traffic have been observed in Pakistan since Saturday, November 3, after the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) Islamist party agreed to end protests. However, other groups remain intent on denouncing the acquittal of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, previously sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Islamist party announced on November 4 that countrywide protests would continue to be held “from Karachi (Sindh) to Chitral (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa),” though no specific details are available. Additionally, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) political alliance announced a "million-man march" to take place in Karachi on Thursday, November 8. An increased security presence remains in effect throughout Pakistan. Further clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.

Context

TLP leaders agreed to end mass protests after government officials promised to initialize the process to place Bibi's name on the Exit Control List (ECL), thereby blocking her from leaving the country. The government has also agreed to allow petitioners to file reviews of the Supreme Court's decision in the blasphemy case and to release the hundreds of prisoners arrested during protests.

Mass demonstrations broke out on October 31 after the Supreme Court acquitted Bibi, resulting in clashes with security forces, roadblocks, and rail and flight disruptions across the country.

Advice

Individuals in Pakistan are advised to closely monitor developments as the situation remains volatile and the security environment could again deteriorate with little to no 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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