Pakistan’s Islamist political parties took to the streets in major cities for second day on Thursday defying Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for calm after the Supreme Court overturned the blasphemy conviction of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi.
Majority of the schools remain closed in Islamabad and police on high alert throughout the day. Most protests were reported in Punjab province, known as the home ground for religious groups.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in his short but strong speech warned protesters to call off their demonstrations or face action. In a clear message to religious hardliners, Khan said, “We will protect people’s properties and lives and will not allow any sabotage.” Khan clarified, “The verdict was according to the law and the constitution. We all must respect the decision of the Supreme Court.” He also condemned the statements of religious parties against Supreme Court judges and Chief of Army Staff.
Khan’s bold and concise speech won him praise at home and abroad but fundamentalist parties are still adamant to continue their protest unless Supreme Court change its verdict.