Pakistan releases TLP leader on bail


LAHORE -- A Pakistani court has ordered the release on bail of a hardline cleric who last year paralysed the country by orchestrating violent protests against the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian accused of blasphemy, his organisation said Tuesday (May 14).

The decision to free Khadim Hussain Rizvi came days after Bibi left Pakistan. She spent eight years on death row in a case that spotlighted extremism in Pakistan.

She is believed to have been reunited with her family in Canada.

Rizvi was detained last November after police cracked down on hundreds of his supporters in Punjab Province and in Karachi.

He faces terrorism and sedition charges after he led violent protests of the Supreme Court's October 31 overturning of Bibi's conviction and death sentence.

"Today the Lahore High Court granted bail to Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi," a spokesman for Rizvi's group, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, said in a tweeted video message.

A Lahore High Court official confirmed to AFP that the court had granted Rizvi bail and that his release was expected on Tuesday.

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