The Pakistan Government will protect the country’s minorities at all costs in accordance with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah* and the Constitution of Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari has said.
|The President (left) meeting with Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti
According to Asian News International (ANI), Zardari made these comments while talking to the Federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr [Presidential Palace] on Thursday, January 20, 2011.
“No one will be allowed to take the law into their own hands nor will anyone be allowed to misuse the country’s laws,” The Nation newspaper quoted the president, as saying.
He also asked Bhatti to continue the consultations with scholars and ulema [legal scholars] of different faiths and denominations with a view to building consensus against the misuse of Pakistani laws against the minorities and vulnerable groups in the country.
“The case of Pakistani-Christian woman Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, has drawn huge attention in the media, and there is deep sympathy for her,” said the website story. “Several NGOs have called for repealing Pakistan’s blasphemy law because it was ‘being used by illiterate masses in rural areas to hoodwink the minorities’”.
In November last year, Pope Benedict XVI had also called for her release, and said that Christians in Pakistan were “often victims of violence and discrimination.”
“On January 4, 2011, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated by Qadri, one of his own elite security force protectors, who opened fire on him because of the liberal politician’s support for Asia’s release,” said ANI.
* Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah (December 25, 1876 – September 11, 1948) was a 20th century lawyer, politician, statesman and the founder of Pakistan. As the first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah led efforts to lay the foundations of the new state of Pakistan, frame national policies and rehabilitate millions of Muslim refugees who had migrated from India. He died in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from the British Empire.