Sunday May 22, 2022

Blasphemy law: Ashrafi terms Mazari’s letter to UN bid to invite foreign intervention

May 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Renowned religious scholar and Chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Monday said former Human Rights minister Dr Shireen Mazari’s letter to the United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs against the misuse of blasphemy law was a bid to invite foreign intervention to weaken the blasphemy law in the country.

Addressing the press conference here, he said when all the legal forums were available for the redressal of such issues in the country; why she had dragged the international watchdog into the matter. He said if she was not feeling comfortable with the national institutions such as judiciary, Council of Islamic Ideology and Muttahida Ulema Board (MUB) Punjab, she could have approached the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation instead of the UN.

Ashrafi expressed his fear that Mazari’s letter would help those who were against this law since the day one and had been making efforts to abolish or weaken it through all possible means. He further added that it may also create serious problems for Pakistan to get out of the grey list of Financial Action Task Force.

He urged the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership to ask Mazari to withdraw her letter from the UN keeping in view the sensitivity of the subject as the whole nation was guarding the sanctity of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and blasphemy laws.

Ashrafi said he had appealed the Punjab Home Secretary, Inspector General of Police, Interior Minister and Federal Investigation Agency to forward all the blasphemous cases to Ulema Board to decide their maintainability without any discrimination.

In the past, the Board had decided 217 cases amicably, he added. He also urged the PTI leadership to stop malicious social media drive against the national institutions including judiciary and law enforcement agencies.

He said the national institutions were working within their constitutional domain as Pakistan was not a banana republic. Pakistani nation and army were on one page and nobody could create division among them, he maintained.