Islamists call halt to Pakistan protest after government allows vote on French envoy

A banned Pakistani Islamist group called an end to violent nationwide anti-France protests on Tuesday after the government called a parliamentary vote on whether to expel the French ambassador and halted criminal cases against the group’s members.
Pakistan outlawed the group Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) last week after its members blocked main highways, railways and access routes to major cities, assaulting police and burning public property.

The group has demanded that Pakistan expel the French ambassador in retaliation for the publication in France of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Meanwhile, protesters belonging to the TLP group have released 11 police officers abducted during violent clashes in the eastern city of Lahore, the country’s interior minister says, as negotiations remain ongoing. Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, speaking in a video message issued early on Monday, said “a lot of progress” had been made in the first round of negotiations. Several policemen and protesters were wounded in clashes on Sunday, which began after TLP activists attacked a police station in the Sodhiwal area of Pakistan’s second city Lahore.