A radical Pakistani cleric, who galvanized tens of thousands of followers to march on Islamabad, met Monday with opposition politicians and agreed to continue their sit-in even after a deadline he imposed for the prime minister to resign passed without Imran Khan stepping down.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s followers, many of them students of his religious schools, started out last week from the southern port city of Karachi, marching to Islamabad where they have since camped out on the city’s outskirts for three days.
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In his speeches, Rehman has attacked the minority Ahmadi sect, and Ahmadi homes and places of worship are often targeted by Sunni militants who consider them heretics. There are about half a million of Ahmadis in Pakistan, which has a population of 220 million and which declared Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974.
Rahman has also staunchly defended a controversial blasphemy law that carried a death sentence for anyone found guilty of insulting Islam.