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Religious leaders demand Salman Taseer dismissal

KARACHI: The Tehreek Namoos-i-Risalat has asked the government to dismiss Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and ask Sherry Rehman to resign from the National Assembly for their views against the blasphemy law.

Religious leaders demand Taseer’s dismissalThe demand was made by Maulana Asad Thanvi at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday.

Qari Muhammad Usman of JUI-F, Muhammad Husain Mehnati of JI, Shabbir Abu Talib of JUP, Maulana Muhammad Salfi of JGA, Allama Jaffar Subhani of Tehreek-i-Islami, Muhammad Naseemuddin of Tanzeem-i-Islami, Allama Ghulam Yasin Golarvi of MJA, Rafique Butt of PML-N, Tariq Hasan of PML-Q, Qazi Ehsan Ahmad of AMTKN, Maulana Yusuf Qasuri of JA and Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui of ASWJ attended the press conference.

They called upon President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to disband a committee headed by Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti for recommending changes in the blasphemy law and make a categorical announcement that the government at no stage would try to amend the law and would carry out the sentence given by a court to Aasia Bibi.

“Sometimes the rulers talk about removing the words Islamic Republic from the name of the state and at some other time they want to expunge from the Constitution articles related to Islam. And now their party’s governor is talking about pardoning Aasia, who has been convicted by a court of committing blasphemy.”

Similarly, Ms Sherry Rehman had submitted a bill in the National Assembly for amending the law, they said.

They said the present set-up had been pursuing the policies of the Musharraf government.

They appealed to businessmen to keep their shutters down and to transporters to keep their vehicles off the road on Friday.

Also on Thursday, addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) secretary general Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri urged the nation, particularly traders to make the strike a success to give a message to the rulers that any amendment to the blasphemy law would not be tolerated.

He said the JUI-F would strongly resist any move to amend the law.

He said that although Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah had said that the law would neither be repealed nor amended, the assurance should have come either from President Asif Ali Zardari or Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

“Unless it is done, we are not ready to trust the government,” he remarked.

The JUI-F leader regretted that so far no action had been taken against Salman Taseer and Sherry Rehman.

He said Aasia Bibi should prove herself innocent in a court of law because no authority, including the president or prime minister could pardon a blasphemy convict.

Senator Haideri said that the JUI-F would hold a big rally in Karachi on Jan 2 which had been supported by the Pakistan Muslim League-N.

He said an all parties conference on “Tahafuze Namoos-i-Risalat” would be held in Karachi on Jan 9. He said that all political parties, except the PPP, MQM and ANP, had been invited to attend the conference.

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