APMA stages protest demanding Aasia’s release

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LAHORE: The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) staged a protest at the Lahore Press Club on Sunday demanding immediate release of blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi who was awarded a death sentence.
The protesters urged the federal government to suspend discriminatory laws including 295 B/C, which was being used for revengeful activities against minorities.
They said that Aasia was innocent and due to a personal grudge she was trapped in a fake case of blasphemy. Addressing the protesters, MPA Najmi Saleem said that minorities felt insecure in the country due to some discriminatory laws.
She said that minorities wanted equal rights and freedom, which other citizens enjoyed. The MPA urged President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take notice of the issue and order Aasia’s release.
Other speakers including APMA District Coordinator Pastor George Paul, Javed Iqbal and Shafiq Bhatti said that Christians respected the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and could not even think about blasphemy.
They said that some forces wanted to defame Pakistan by using violence against minorities.
Blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi was held responsible by Sheikhupura Investigation Officer Ameen Bokhari and her trial continued for one and a half year but she could not prove her innocence, Tahaffuz-e-Namos-e Risalat (SAW) office bearers including President Allama Raza-e-Mustafa Naqhshbandi, General Secretary Muhammad Ali Naqshbandi, Information Secretary Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Mufti Masoodur Rehman and Maulana Shahid Aziz said on Sunday in a press conference.
The religious leaders said that they would hold a protest in front of the Governor’s House on November 24 and also hold protests countrywide on Friday. They asked the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to break their silence on the issue. The religious leaders said that according to Article 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, respect was given to all prophets including Jesus Christ.
They also asked President Asif Ali Zardari to consider the issue seriously. The religious leaders said that if the law was not implemented then people would be forced to follow the example of Ghazi Ilm Deen Shaheed.