Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Photo: Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera

LAHORE — Pakistan's newest hardline religious party, TLP, which calls for blasphemers to be put to death and celebrates those who have murdered the alleged perpetrators, held a lively motorcycle rally last week through the streets of Lahore.

Why it matters: A year ago, this kind of a political rally, in the heart of the political base of Pakistan's ruling party, would have been unthinkable. But as Pakistan gears up for a general election in late July, the political environment is far from predictable, and new entrants have emerged onto the political scene.

  • Now, the TLP is set to put up more than 550 candidates for national and provincial assembly seats across the country, and is confident it can mobilize a religiously-motivated vote on the basis of its anti-blasphemy and anti-corruption agenda.
  • Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, where at least 74 people have been killed in attacks motivated by blasphemy accusations since 1990, according to an Al Jazeera tally. The TLP's election posters often carry images of those who have killed in the name of the prophet's honor.
  • "When it involves the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, the finality of his prophethood or the dishonoring of his person, then every Muslim will become an extremist," says Ejaz Ashrafi, a senior TLP leader, in an interview with Al Jazeera.

The bigger picture: Political analysts say the TLP is unlikely to win a parliamentary seat, but will get a significant number of votes in central Punjab province, possibly acting as a "spoiler" in two-way fights between the PML-N and PTI parties.

Go deeper: Read the full report on Al Jazeera.

Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.