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November 24, 2010



Blasphemy convict issue sparks protests

ATTEMPTS by the PPP government specially Punjab Governor Salman Taseer to pardon and exile blasphemy convict Asia Bibi to the US have sparked protests by religious parties on Tuesday, which termed it anti-Islam and demanded immediate dismissal of Salman Taseer as governor and punishment according to the blasphemy law.
Various religious organisations held protest demonstrations and meetings condemning the PPP government and the secular lobby in the country, particularly Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, holding him part of the international conspiracy to amend the blasphemy law in Pakistan.
Addressing the charged participants, the religious leaders vowed to resist all moves to amend the law, arguing that sacred personalities and ideals are protected from profanities in every country and society.
Jamaat e Islami Ameer Syed Munawar Hasan condemned the campaign by Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and the country’s secular lobby for the release and exile of death convict Christian woman Aasia Maseeh and said it would prove to be the final nail in Zardari government’s coffin as Pakistani nation would foil every conspiracy to abolish the Blasphemy (of the Holy Prophet) Law.
Addressing a meeting, Munawwar said the JI would consult other political and religious parties to chalk out a joint line of action against the secular lobby’s move in this regard.
Munawar said the PPP government and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer were trying to release and sent abroad Asia in violation of the Islamic laws and the laws of land in connivance with some foreign powers and secular NGOs, instead of adopting the legal procedure by filing an appeal against her death sentence. Besides some foreign powers, the secular lobby and the foreign funded NGO’s having anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan agenda are pressurising the government for the release of the convicted woman as was a blatant interference in the country’s judicial system and its internal affairs, he

Munawar argued why none of the human rights or women’s rights bodies had made such moves to release Dr Aafia Siddiqui sentenced by a US court to 86 years for crimes she never committed. As for the secular lobby’ argument that Blasphemy Law was being abused, Munawwar said every other law and even the constitution had been misused at times but it did not prompt secular lobbies or the PPP government to demand abolishing all such laws or the constitution.
Aalmi Tanzim Ahle Sunnat (ATAS) staged a demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club, condemning, what they called, the conspiracy to amend blasphemy laws and exile blasphemy convict, saying that Punjab Governor Salman Taseer had committed a crime after flouting Islamic punishment for blasphemy. Addressing the charged and slogan-chanting participants, the leaders demanded that Salman Taseer be removed as Punjab governor and punished in accordance with the law. ATAS Chief Pir Afzal Qadri, Mukhtar Rizvi, Shahid Gardezi, Maulana Ziaul Mustafa, Naeem Noori and other leaders challenged for a TV debate to those terming blasphemy law a creation of Gen Ziaul Haq, arguing that the law was implemented by Holy Prophet (SAW) and Khulafa-e-Rashedin and those who followed them for centuries. They warned against attempts to change the law and said it would cost the PPP its rule. They also warned against the implementation of western conspiracies in the country and said it would spark a public movement against the rulers.
JUI-F Punjab Deputy Secretary General Maulana Abubakar Chaudhry while addressing a protest meeting warned against the western conspiracy to amend blasphemy laws, and argued sacred personalities and ideals were protected by law in every country and society.