Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Shutdown in Pakistan to oppose proposed amendment in blasphemy law

Shutdown in Pakistan to oppose proposed amendment in blasphemy law

Author: Omer Farooq Khan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 31, 2010
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Shutdown-in-Pakistan-to-oppose-proposed-amendment-in-blasphemy-law/articleshow/7196929.cms

Pakistan on Friday observed a strike responding to a call by leaders of religious parties to protest against the possible changes to the blasphemy laws.

In all major cities and towns, markets and business centres were closed. Protest rallies and demonstrations were carried out after Friday prayers in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi,Quetta, Kashmore and Hazara division.

No public transport was reported in the country's commercial hub of Karachi, where demonstrators blocked traffic as part of the protests called by religious parties.

The strike call was given by the "Namoos-i-Risalat" conference held in Islamabad on December 15.

The government, however, has already distanced itself from a bill to change the law, which carries a mandatory death sentence for anyone who insults Islam.

Earlier, on Thursday, the federal minister for religious affairs Syed Khurshid Shah appealed to religious parties to call off Friday`s strike and categorically declared that the government was not bringing any bill to amend the blasphemy law.

Friday's strike was organised against a bill submitted in parliament by Sherry Rehman, a member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and a former information minister. The bill sought to amend the law by abolishing the death sentence and by strengthening clauses which prevent any chance of a miscarriage of justice.

The law came under the spotlight after a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death in November by a court on charges of insulting Islam. Critics and rights groups say the law is used to persecute religious minorities, fan religious extremism and settle personal scores.

The Tehreek Namoos-i-Risalat (movement for the sanctity of prophet) urged the government to dismiss Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and ask Sherry Rehman to resign from the National Assembly for their views against the blasphemy law.

The demand was made by Maulana Asad Thanvi at a press conference in Karachi. "We ask the government to disband a committee headed by minister for minority affairs Shahbaz Bhatti for recommending changes in the blasphemy law and make a categorical announcement that the government will have to carry out the sentence given by a court to Asia Bibi," Maulana Thanvi said.

"Sometimes the rulers talk about removing the words Islamic Republic from the name of the state and at some other time they want to expunge Islam-related articles from the Constitution. And now their party's governor is talking about pardoning Asia, who has been convicted by a court of committing blasphemy," another fiery cleric told demonstrators in Rawalpindi.

"Now Kafirs (infidels) will tell us how to practice our religion. This government is planning to change the blasphemy law under foreign pressure but Muslims of this country will never allow it to do so," Maulana Gohar Shah, a cleric and former parliamentarian of the Jamiat Ulema Islam told angry protestors in Peshawar.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements