On Dec. 12, 2010, during a press conference major Islamic parties of the country have announced to launch a campaign for upholding the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad against the proposed amendment in the blasphemy laws. During a meeting, they formed an alliance and a seven-member committee was also constituted to chalk out a strategy for holding meetings, processions, wheel-jam strikes and a sit-in outside parliament.
The meeting was convened by the Markazi Jamaat Ahle Sunnat in Rawalpindi, twin city of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. Leaders of major Islamic political parties including Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F, part of coalition government in the centre), and other religious leaders participated in the meeting.
Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws once again came under discussion after the death sentence of an illiterate Christian woman, Aasia Noreen. She was sentenced to death on November 8, 2010. A Christian federal minister said that the blasphemy laws should be amended. Since these laws introduction, Christian and human rights organisation have been demanding for the repeal of the blasphemy laws which have been used against Christian and other religious minorities to persecute and intimidate them.
The Islamic parties stated that the only punishment for blasphemy was capital punishment, adding that no one had the right to amend this law. They further said that the private member bill by Sherry Rehman, a former federal minister, reflected the American agenda.
Pir Ateeq-ur-Rehman Markazi, leader of Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, told the press conference the religious parties had united to protect the sanctity of the name of Holy Prophet and were ready to render any sacrifice.
“People will not allow the government to amend blasphemy law at any cost,” said Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of JUI-F. He said international powers always tried to divide the Mulsim Ummah, but all the sects of Islam were united for the dignity of the Holy Prophet.
Moreover, in many cities Islamic parties organised rallies against attempts to amend the blasphemy law and likely extradition of Aasia Noreen. Jamaatul Dawa, a charity run by Lashka-e-Tayyba (a terrorist organisation banned in Pakistan) also organised a rally in Lahore while the Punjab government of Pakistan Muslim League-N, a right wing party, did not take any notice of the rally.
Aftab Alexander Mughal
Minorities Concern of Pakistan
Dec. 13, 2010