Thousands rally in Karachi in support of blasphemy law

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KARACHI – Various religious groups organised a massive rally on Sunday to protest against any attempt by the government to amend the blasphemy law. The leaders of these parties demanded the prime minister announce in the National Assembly that the government will not make any changes in the controversial law.
They also announced that a public meeting would be held in Lahore on January 30. Thousands of activists of religious organisations gathered at Purani Numaish Chowrangi and moved towards Tibet Centre on MA Jinnah Road in the form of a huge rally, which culminated into a big public meeting there. They set ablaze the effigies of former information minister Sherry Rehman and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Addressing the gathering, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Munawar Hassan said the campaign they had launched was a peaceful one. He demanded the prime minister clarify on the floor of the National Assembly that the government would not change blasphemy laws. He said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and MQM chief Altaf Hussain should also make their stance clear on the issue and support their movement.
JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman said, “We will not tolerate anyone who dares to change the blasphemy law,” adding, “Some evil forces want to create differences among the people of the country.” Tehreek-e Namoos-e-Risalat Convener Sahibzada Abul Kher Zuberi said, “A peaceful strike and now a massive public gathering in Karachi have proved that the entire nation is devoted to the Holy Prophet (PBUH).”
He warned that if the plans to amend blasphemy law were not scrapped, the fate of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer must be kept in mind “as a Mumtaz Qadri can emerge from every home”. JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch said the president, the prime minister and the so-called intellectuals and westernised members of the assemblies must “take a look at this public meeting”.
Jamatud Dawa chief Amir Hamza said his organisation had declared Salmaan Taseer Pakistan’s Salman Rushdi. JI’s Hafiz Hussain Ahmed also criticised the late Punjab governor.