Sherry to withdraw blasphemy bill


KARACHI/ISLAMABAD – Former Information and Broadcasting minister Sherry Rehman has decided to withdraw her bill from the parliament that proposed amendments to the blasphemy laws. “Keeping in view the policy of my party, I’ve decided to withdraw the blasphemy amendment bill,” she told reporters.
“My purpose of introducing the amendment in the blasphemy laws was to discourage the misuse of the law”. Certain quarters threatened Sherry with dire consequences in case she refused to withdraw the amendment bill. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told the National Assembly that the government had no intention of amending the blasphemy laws, adding that Sherry had moved a bill proposing amendments to the blasphemy law in her individual capacity and had now agreed that it should be discussed by the (ruling) party first.
Gilani said that he had called a conference on Namoos-e-Risalat and had made it clear to the participants that the law will not be amended. He said that he had asked the clerics to join hands with the government to prevent misuse of the law, adding that the government respected the clerics but they should not politicize the issue. Earlier, speaking on a point of order, Nisar asked Gilani to make an announcement that the government had no intention to amend the blasphemy law so that the demands of religious parties could be met.
Nisar said the issue of the laws’ misuse could be addressed exclusively. He also requested Sherry Rehman, in her absence, to withdraw her bill so that crisis could be resolved amicably. Responding to Nisar’s point of order on the Raymond Davis issue, Gilani said the govt will respect the decision of the judiciary.
“Pakistan is a sovereign and responsible state with an independent judiciary, a sovereign parliament, a free media and a vibrant civil society and the government will not bring a bad name to the country by interfering in its mechanisms,” he added.