Pakistan protests: How powerful are religious groups?

Thousands of Pakistanis have ended a three-week sit-in near the capital after a government minister resigned following accusations of blasphemy.

Law Minsiter Zahid Hamid stepped down after facing criticism for changing the wording in an electoral oath.

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan political party, (TLP), said the words “I believe”, which replaced the clause “I solemnly swear” in a proclamation of Muhammad as Islam’s last prophet, amounted to blasphemy.

Hamid apologised on Monday, and called the change a “clerical error”.

The TLP says the change in the wording represented a softening of the state’s position against the Ahmadi sect. Ahmadis were banned from identifying as Muslim within Pakistan in 1974.

So, what is the role of religious movements in Pakistan, and how powerful are they?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


Naveed Ahmad – investigative journalist and academic

Ahmed Rashid – writer and author of Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia

Nadia Rahman – Relief and Protection Manager, Amnesty International

Source: Al Jazeera News