Blasphemy law amendments – JUI-F leaders announce countrywide protests

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KARACHI – The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) reiterated its resolve to go ahead with a ‘peaceful countrywide shutter-down strike’, backed by traders and transporters, on December 31 to protest any amendments in the blasphemy laws in a press conference on Wednesday.
“We will prove that Karachi is a city of ‘Ghulaman-e-Mustafa’ (lovers of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),” JUI-F Karachi Ameer Qari Muhammad Usman said.
Before leaving for Umrah the same day, party chief Fazlur Rehman also claimed that a successful strike on December 31 will make the lives of the ‘rulers and the west’ miserable.
Rehman also announced a rally in Karachi on January 9 and declared that this event will “also be successful”. He will return from Umrah on January 8. However, when Pakistan Today contacted the JUI-F leaders in Karachi, it was found that they have not studied the amendments in blasphemy laws tabled in the National Assembly by former federal information minister Sherry Rehman.
“All we know is that these amendments have been tabled by someone who is not an aalim-e-deen (scholar of religion). Sherry Rehman is not qualified to suggest any changes in religious laws,” The JUI-F Karachi Ameer told Pakistan Today.
He was also not aware of the December 18 decision of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the country’s top constitutional advisory body on Islamic injunctions, to accept procedural amendments in the blasphemy laws in order to prevent these laws from being abused.
“Nothing of the sort has happened, or we would have known,” Usman claimed despite the fact that the CII chief, Senator Muhammad Khan Sherani, is from Usman’s own party.