Live blog: Protests on Aasia Bibi's acquittal
- SC acquits Aasia Bibi, orders immediate release (READ MORE)
- Religious hardliners protest against the acquittal across the country
While Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has wrapped up its protests across Pakistan, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) has announced that its "peaceful protests are still ongoing from Karachi to Chitral".
Protests and sit-ins have also vanished in Karachi following TLP's agreement with the government last night.
Life, including the flow of traffic, is back to normal in the port city.
After three days of inactivity, things are back to normal in the capital city of Islamabad, according to DawnNewsTV.
Protests have cleared up, while the flow of traffic remains unimpeded.
In Peshawar, TLP supporters wrapped up protests last night after the party reached an agreement with the government.
Blockages were also removed from roads and traffic returned to normal.
Motorways and National Highways are open for traffic, the Motorway Police announced on Saturday.
However, they cautioned commuters to refrain from unnecessary travel on these routes due to the "volatile and unpredictable" situation in the country.
Life in Lahore has started to come back to normal as protesters cleared up roads after the TLP and government reached an agreement last night. Apart from Data Darbar, where TLYRA leader Maulana Ashraf Jalali and his supporters are continuing their sit-in, roads in Lahore have cleared up, DawnNewsTV reported.
Though schools are open, attendance remains thin.
In Karachi, protesters had refused to budge until last night.
Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has announced an end to the protests which have brought the country to a standstill for the past three days, according to some reports.
Meanwhile, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) Ashraf Jalili faction, which is a smaller group within the larger party, says no deal was reached with the government (the faction wasn't a signatory to an agreement shared earlier).
Reports say that protesters will start leaving the protest venues within the next hour.
The government and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have reached an agreement to conclude the latter's nationwide protests, *DawnNewsTV* has reported, with the government promising to immediately initiate the legal process to place Aasia Bibi's name on the exit control list (ECL).
The government has also said it will not oppose the complainants from seeking a review of the Supreme Court's judgment in the Aasia Bibi blasphemy case.
The government has also promised to take appropriate legal action to redress any deaths that may have occurred during the protests against the Aasia Bibi verdict and to release all people picked up in connection with the protests starting October 30.
The TLP has in turn apologised if it "hurt the sentiments or inconvenienced anyone without reason".
The agreement was signed by Dr Noorul Haq Qadri (religious affairs minister) and Raja Basharat (law minister Punjab) on behalf of the government, and by Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri (senior leader of the TLP) and Muhammad Waheed Noor (central chief nazim of the TLP).
As tensions in the country persist, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi has held talks with ulema and religious scholars in an attempt to seek a peaceful end to the protests.
Afridi during his meeting with various ulema has sought their assistance in dealing with the protestors.
The scholars have acknowledged and expressed agreement with the fact that a court decision is always made in accordance with the law and Constitution.
Workers and supporters of various religious parties are marching towards Rashakai Interchange.
The rally is being carried out to protest the Supreme Court verdict to acquit Asia Bibi.
Mobile phone services have been restored in Islamabad and Lahore in the evening, multiple sources confirmed to Dawn.com.
Cellular services have also been reinstated in Rawalpindi and Gujranwala, according to reports.
Mobile networks had been suspended across several cities at 8am today.
Private schools across the country will remain closed tomorrow as well, the All-Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) has announced.
According to reports, some students were told to come to schools on Saturday in lieu of the holiday announced by educational institutions for Friday.
However, it has been decided to keep the schools shut tomorrow in light of security concerns, APPSF President Kashif Mirza said.
A collective of clerics known as the Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat have issued a call for nationwide calm amidst the ongoing protests.
"This is not the time to fight each each other. It is a time for peace and perseverance," Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi, the chairman of the Tanzeem, said.
"Are we trying to tell the world that we [religious scholars] are political people? That we are extremists, that we want to harm our own?"
"We request our protesters and their leadership that they tell their followers that they can protest, but they cannot take people's lives or damage private property. They should should take care of minorities."
"All citizens in Pakistan have equal rights," he added.
Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) Maulana Fazlur Rehman has lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan for warning agitators against disrupting the lives of citizens.
Addressing a protest rally in Peshawar, Fazl alleged that the Supreme Court verdict to acquit Asia Bibi has been issued under "western pressure". He said the rulers want to turn the country into a "secular state".
"If political parties do not accept verdicts against their founders then this judgement is unacceptable to us as well," he said, citing the rulings against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.
"I have been crying for 10 years that the western agenda is being enforced here," the JUI-F chief said.
He recalled that the PTI itself had held sit-ins for four months before it came to power, adding: "The journey that has been started will not stop now."
On the calls of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Sirajul Haq, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) have staged a protest in front of the press club in Bannu against the release of Asia Bibi.
During the protests, a local leader of the JUI passed anti-Semitic remarks and accused the government of being under external influence.
He added that from the courts verdict, it had "become clear why an Israeli plane came to Pakistan".
The leader said that JUI strongly condemns this verdict, said the country was ruled by a 'black law' and added that the verdict should be taken back.
Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi has said the government is showing "utmost restraint to resolve the prevailing law and order situation in some pockets of various cities amicably," Radio Pakistan reports.
Afridi said the federal government's negotiating team as well as the Punjab chief minister were communicating with the leadership of the "agitators", adding that they hoped to see "positive progress" soon.
Speaking to reporters outside the Parliament, the minister said the government did not want to use the option of force and wanted to avoid bloodshed.
"But he made it clear that writ of the state will be maintained at all costs," the report said.
A bird's-eye view of Karachi's iconic Teen Talwar monument shows a group of protesters at a sit-in camp.
All roads leading to the roundabout have been closed for traffic.
Trains service across the country is functioning as per schedule despite protests by religious groups and an uncertain security situation, a spokesperson for Pakistan Railways told APP.
According to the official, the Shalimar Express from Faisalabad to Karachi, Farid Express from Lahore to Karachi and Akber Express from Quetta to Lahore have departed from the respective stations as per schedule.
The Bolan Mail from Quetta to Karachi, Shalimar Express from Karachi to Lahore, Millat Express from Malakwal and Allama Iqbal Express from Sialkot-Lahore-Karachi also left their stations on time.
Other trains will leave for their destinations as per schedule, the spokesperson said.
The road leading towards Kala Pul in Karachi has been closed for traffic due to a protest near the Finance Trade Centre (FTC).
The Karachi traffic police have advised commuters to use alternative routes.
Due to ongoing demonstrations, other routes that have been closed for traffic include Meera Naka, Sultanabad, Shafiq Mor, Wireless Gate, Dawood Chowrangi, Malir 15 and Babar Kanta.
Islamabad Expressway has been blocked from Koral to Khanna due to protests in the capital. Athaal Chowk at Bhara Kahu has also been closed off for all kinds of traffic while Jinnah Avenue is blocked from Kulsoom Plaza to Expressway.
A large number of protesters can be seen marching in Islamabad's F-6 neighbourhood.
The demonstrators are holding banners and can be heard chanting slogans.
Authorities have allowed protesters to proceed from D-Chowk to the area in front of the Parliament House in Islamabad.
JUI-F protesters were also allowed to offer Friday prayers in front of the Parliament in the Red Zone.
Security has been beefed up in Peshawar as religio-political parties begin protest rallies across the city. One side of GT Road has been blocked.
JUI-F, TLP and JI and multiple other parties have announced protests throughout the province today.
A group of protesters are demonstrating on Karachi's arterial Sharea Faisal road.
The protesters are holding banners. Police are at the scene.
The Office of the Commissioner Karachi Division shared a situation report of road blocks in the city as of 1pm.
The University of Health Sciences (UHS) in Lahore has postponed its examination for community medicine that was scheduled for today, in view of continuing protests against the Asia Bibi verdict.
According to a UHS spokesperson, the community medicine exam for MBBS third professional will now be conducted on November 9, next Friday.
Religio-political parties have planned several protests against the acquittal of Asia Bibi, throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today, DawnNewsTV reported.
The TLP is holding a sit-in at Ring Road near Jamil Chowk in Peshawar, while JUI-F will hold a rally at Jinnah Park on GT Road.
JI also held a protest at Qissa Khuani Bazaar that was attended by the leaders of its Peshawar chapter. Yakjehti Milli Itehad party ahs also planned protests.
The route from Peshawar to Islamabad via Motorway M-1 is blocked for all kinds of traffic. The motorway is open for commuters travelling from Islamabad to Peshawar.
Motorways M-2 from Islamabad to Lahore, M-3 from Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad and M-4 from Faisalabad to Gojra are blocked due to protests.
Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said the verdict on Aasia Bibi's appeal was a "legal matter" and termed it "unfortunate" that the army was being dragged in the issue, since it had nothing to do with the case.
Talking to PTVNews, Maj Gen Ghafoor urged protesters to take the legal route. He said that the army was fighting a war to establish peace in the country and said that the forces' attention should not be diverted. He hoped that the matter would be resolved peacefully.
Read his full conversation here.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry negated reports of an operation against the protesters and claimed that the law and order situation in the country was under control.
In a tweet, Chaudhry said that the government does not want to use violence against protesters. Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri is holding negotiations with the protesters, the information minister announced.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar vowed to protect the life and property of citizens, as it is the government's prime responsibility.
Th CM ordered concerned authorities to take every measure to ensure that law and order situation in the province remain in control.
He was briefed on law and order situation and traffic flow in the province during a meeting held at the CM House. The meeting, chaired by CM Buzdar, was also attended by provincial Law Minister Raja Basharat, chief secretary, IG and other high ranking officials.
The Christian graveyard in Karachi, Gora Qabristan, is open for those observing All Souls Day. Mass, however, has been cancelled due to security threats.
All routes in Islamabad have now been unblocked apart from Faizabad Interchange, according to a Twitter account by the name of Islamabad police.
Travellers are advised to call 1915 to get assistance from traffic police and latest traffic updates or tune into FM 92.4.
Security has been beefed up near the Lahore High Court and Supreme Court's Lahore registry, DawnNewsTV reports.
Heavy contingents of police have been deployed at Mall Road.
Ongoing protests have led to shutdown of business activities in Karachi as labour attendance is thin and truckers refuse to transport finished goods, today's Dawn reported.
Industry leaders blame the shut down on the disruption in public transportation due to which labourers were unable to reach work. Truckers were also reluctant to transport goods which led to production losses and shipment delays.
Commuters in Lahore should avoid travelling from Charring Cross at Mall Road, Data Darbar, Shahdara Chowk, Askari X and Bhatta Chowk.
Nazimabad underpass and Liaquatabad in Karachi have reportedly been blocked by protesters. Traffic on both sides has been suspended.
Other areas that have been blocked include Teen Talwar, Star Gate at Shahrae Faisal, Numaish, Sohrab Goth, Korangi 5, Ranchor Line, Power House, Nagan Chowrangi, Teen Hatti, etc.
Life in Karachi was disrupted as protesters continued to block major roads. The city mayor has ordered all KMC-run hospitals to remain on high alert in case of emergency.
KMC hospitals have also suspended the leaves of staffers and those who were on leave were told to report to their respective departments.
Mobile phone signals have been suspended in several cities in Punjab including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Gujranwala, DawnNewsTV reported. It will remain suspended till evening.
Exams, that were scheduled to be held today, have also been postponed in Punjab.
Fear prevailed in different cities of Punjab as TLP supporters continued to block roads and shut down business activities.
Police finally sprung into action and booked several protesters for hooliganism and blocking roads. In Okara, more than 200 people were arrested, while 34 were arrested in Chiniot. Arrests were also made in Faisalabad and Kasur.
Aasia Bibi's brother expressed fear for her security, saying she has "no other option" but to leave the country.
Bibi, who was acquitted by the Supreme Court earlier this week, is being held at an undisclosed location due to security reasons.
Country-wide protests against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi are set to continue today.
Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) — which has been holding multiple sit-ins across the country since the Supreme Court announced the verdict on Wednesday morning — has called for a shutter-down strike.
The information minister tweeted a while ago to say that the law and order situation in the country is under control, and that the state's patience must not be tested.
"The nation's best interest is in the supremacy of the law and Constitution, and we will fulfill this responsibility. The prime minister is receiving prompt updates and his trip to China will not [be allowed to] be sabotaged.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that mobile services will remain suspended in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Gujranwala on Friday from 8am till Maghreb prayers.
Chaudhry took to Twitter to make this announcement.
A Twitter account associated with Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi has claimed that "the talks with the government have completely failed".
According to the tweet, the talks were attended by the representatives of the government as well as security agencies.
The statement claims that the government officials warned of strict action against the protesters, but maintains on behalf of the party that it "will not bow down" and that there will be a complete shutter-down strike across the country on Friday.
All educational institutions in Karachi will remain closed on Friday, November 2, according to a statement issued on Twitter by Adviser to the Chief Minister, Murtaza Wahab.
All educational institutions in the rest of the province, however, will open as usual, says Sindh Minister of Education and Literacy Syed Sardar Ali Shah.
"The decision to keep educational institutions in Karachi closed was made due to the prevailing [law and order] situation in the city," says Shah.
The M-1 motorway from Peshawar to Islamabad has been opened for all kinds of traffic, the latest statement issued by the Motorway Police says.
The M-2 motorway from Islamabad Toll Plaza to Sial Mor is also open to traffic now, however, the road that leads to Lahore from Sial Mor is still blocked.
Commuters on the M-2 motorway headed to Islamabad can enter through the Khanqah Dogran interchange.
The M-3 motorway from Faisalabad to Pindi Bhattian and the M-4 motorway from Faisalabad to Gojra is still closed to traffic, the statement warns.
For further details, those wishing to travel may refer to the Motorway Police website, Twitter account @motorwaypolice1, or Facebook account @nhmpofficial.
All public and privately managed schools across Punjab will remain closed on Friday, November 2, according to a notification issued by the Punjab School Education Department.
The announcement has been made due to possible traffic congestion in parts of the province, says the notice issued by Secretary School Education Ghulam Farid.
The same extends to all public and privately managed universities and colleges in Punjab, according to a notification issued by the Punjab government.
A statement issued by adviser on education Ziaullah Bangash has confirmed that all government schools will open throughout the province on Friday, November 2.
All school activities across all government schools will continue as usual, added the statement.