JI protests Pope’s demand for repeal of blasphemy law

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LAHORE – The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) staged a protest on Tuesday at the Multan Road against Pope Benedict XVI’s demands to repeal the blasphemy laws and the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) finality law. JI Secretary General Liaqat Baloch, who led the rally, termed the pontiff’s demand as insane and a plot to threaten the Christian minority’s security in the country and to plunge Pakistan into chaos and disorder. Baloch noted that the Pope’s bias attitude did not allow him to see Zionists’ atrocities against the Palestinians who had been murdered in millions. The Pope’s demand for Aasia Bibi’s release is ignorant of the inhuman treatment being given to Dr Aafia Siddiqui, he said.
He called upon the federal government to register a strong protest against the Pope’s statement and seek its withdrawal. Baloch also urged Christian leaders in the country to condemn and disown the Pope’s stance on the issue and emphasised that blasphemy laws also protected minorities in the country. The JI leader said that the Pope’s biased and aggressive statement had caused a wave of anguish and hatred in the Muslim world, as it was an attack on Pakistan’s judicial system and an attempt to play with religious sentiments of the Muslim majority. The Pontiff’s statement, he said, had fully exposed the Western colonial’s designs against Islam and Muslims.
Appreciating the massive rally in Karachi on the issue on Sunday, the JI leader said that another rally would be staged in Lahore on January 30. He said that protests would continue until the parliamentary committee on the issue was scrapped and the amendment bill tabled by PPP MNA Sherry Rehman was dropped from the parliamentary record. Declaring that the nation would not leave former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassin Mumtaz Qadri alone, Baloch said that as long as the Presidency shelters blasphemers, people such as Qadri would continue to emerge. Qadri enjoyed backing of the whole nation and proud and honourable lawyers would secure his release, he said.