Religious groups call for strike


Religious groups on Thursday joined hands to oppose the death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri, the police commando who killed former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, and announced a countrywide strike on Friday (today) to push for his release. Major religious organisations vowed to hold rallies, demonstrations and seminars across Pakistan and Azad Kashmir to highlight the blasphemy issue and a “western conspiracy to immunise Muslims” from this highly sensitive issue.
They said clerics would highlight the blasphemy law in Friday sermons, while protests would follow the congregations to condemn Qadri’s death sentence. Pakistan’s top 40 religious parties, which have already launched a campaign to revoke the punishment announced by an anti-terrorism court, claimed that major trader organisations would participate in the strike.
A spokesman of the Tehrik-e-Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat (movement for the protection of the Prophet’s sanctity) — an alliance of about two dozen religious groups spearheading the campaign — announced that all important business centres would remain closed on Friday in a show of love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his honour.He said the campaign would continue until Qadri’s release and the elimination of “western-funded conspiracies by country’s secular elements” against blasphemy laws. Numerous religious leaders consider death penalty to Qadri a sign of protection for the Prophet’s blasphemers.


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