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Drive against Asia Bibi disowned by PML-N

pml-nISLAMABAD: The PML-N has distanced itself from its member of the National Assembly, Sahibzada Fazl Karim, who is spearheading a campaign against a possible presidential pardon for a Christian woman convicted under the blasphemy law.

The MNA, in his capacity as the chairman of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), led a long march which initially had been planned in protest against increasing attacks on shrines.However, the focus of the participants of the march which began on Saturday and ended in Lahore on Sunday remained Aasia Bibi who was recently sentenced to death by a lower court. An application has been submitted to the presidency against the sentence.

“The party has nothing to do with SIC’s long march and Mr Karim has done that in his personal capacity.”PML-N’s information secretary Ahsan Iqbal said.

He also added that Mr Karim had contested general election on PML-N’s symbol, but his association with the SIC was his personal affair.When asked about PML-N’s stance on the long march, Mr Iqbal said: “We neither support nor oppose it.”

Mr Karim has been elected MNA from NA-82 in Faisalabad on PML-N’s ticket in 2002 and 2008 and is reported to have a trustworthy relationship with party chief Mian Nawaz Sharif.

The fiery speaker heads the most powerful alliance of the Brelvi school of thought. The alliance has repeatedly asked the government not to pardon the mother of five. “The pardon would lead to anarchy in the country. Our stand is very clear that this punishment cannot be waived,” he has been quoted as saying.

However, sources said his recent moves had not been taken well by the party leadership. His statements may have been helpful for his constituency, but are damaging the image at the national and international levels of the party that has faced allegations of being a too close to the right wing political forces.

When an attempt was made to contact Mr Karim, his son said he was preoccupied with TV programmes and would not be available till midnight.

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