Hardline 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.
Far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party founded by Rizvi was behind the recent protests against France over the Prophet Muhammad’s cartoons.
Rizvi, 54, appeared to have died of natural causes after suffering an illness over the last week, but the exact cause of his death on Thursday night was not yet clear, said Pir Ijaz Ashrafi, a senior leader of TLP party.
“When he came to the protest sit-in, he was not feeling well at that time as well,” Ashrafi told Al Jazeera by telephone referring to anti-government protest, where hundreds of TLP supporters clashed with police and blocked a major highway into the capital Islamabad this week. “He stayed unwell for a few days after that. We were not able to ascertain what it was.”