Pakistan’s Blasphemy Protests Are the Latest Sign of Islamist Hard-Liners’ Ascendance

Ashraf Asim Jalali, second from left, leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan addresses a news conference with others regarding the acquittal of Christian woman Asia Bibi, in Lahore, Pakistan, Nov. 8, 2018 (AP photo by K.M. Chaudary).
Ashraf Asim Jalali, second from left, leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan addresses a news conference with others regarding the acquittal of Christian woman Asia Bibi, in Lahore, Pakistan, Nov. 8, 2018 (AP photo by K.M. Chaudary).

Violent protests swept across Pakistan earlier this month in response to the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy. The multi-day protests, organized by the hard-line Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, or TLP, subsided only after the government agreed to prevent Bibi from leaving the country. In an interview with WPR, Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., discusses Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws and the impact of the Bibi case on […]

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