Pakistani religious leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who rose to prominence in the South Asian nation by campaigning on the issue of “blasphemy” against Islam, has died in the eastern city of Lahore, his party says.
The cause of the Pakistani cleric’s death was not known. Some media reports hinted that he had symptoms similar to that of Covid-19, although that couldn’t be verified.
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TLP supporters had crippled parts of Islamabad and Rawalpindi last week when they held a sit-in to demand the expulsion of the French ambassador to Pakistan and the recall of his Pakistani counterpart in Paris.
The sit-in was called off after Rizvi and ministers from the Imran Khan administration signed an understanding that took note of their demands.
On the passing of Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi my condolences go to his family. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 19, 2020
However on Thursday, Rizvi was taken ill and died soon after. According to the party’s spokesperson Muhammad Hamza, the TLP chief had been experiencing difficulty in breathing and was running a fever since Wednesday.
Known for his powerful preaching Rizvi’s focused on the honour of the prophet, and his Barelvi school of thought’s teachings that it was the duty of Muslims to protect that honour.
Rizvi first came to prominence in 2010, when he quit his government job as a preacher in protest against remarks by then Punjab governor Salman Taseer calling for reforms to the strict blasphemy laws.
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