–Condemn Labbaik’s anti-judiciary, army remarks, call for nationwide calm
LAHORE: Lahore-based Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat (TIU) Chairman Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi on Friday appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar to review the decision in Aasiya Bibi’s case and condemned the derogatory remarks made against the judiciary and army by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
“Everyone has their reservations on the verdict, but the matter needs to be resolved through dialogue. We appeal to the CJP to review the decision,” he said while addressing a press conference along with other ulema and representatives of civil society at the Lahore Press Club.
“We want the CJP and the government to ensure 220 million Pakistanis that Aasiya Bibi would not leave the country till the case is reviewed.”
Condemning the derogatory remarks made against the armed forces by TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and other leaders, Naqshbandi said, “The army should not be involved in such matters. The remarks by TLP leaders have disheartened the entire nation and we condemn it. The armed forces have played an important and unforgettable role in curbing the menace of terrorism.”
“TLP should reach the table for talks if they have any grievances and not violate the law. This is an Islamic country where all the decisions are made in the light of Quran and Sunnah.”
“This is not a time to fight each other, it is a time to be peaceful, to have courage. Are we trying to tell the world that we [religious leaders] are politically inclined? That we are extremists and want to harm our own people?” he asked.
“We request protesters and their leadership that they tell their followers… That they can protest but don’t take people’s lives or damage private property. Take care of minorities. All citizens in Pakistan have equal rights.”
Other religious leaders also spoke at the press conference, urging demonstrators to remain peaceful.
They maintained that peaceful protests are the democratic right of every Pakistani citizen, but that no one had the right to damage public or private property of their fellow citizens.
They asked central leaders of protesting religio-political parties to keep “extremist elements” away from their sit-ins and called for resolution of all issues through dialogue.
A representative of the civil society, Abdullah Malik while speaking to media, said Pakistan was an Islamic state and no one in the country could ever think of committing blasphemy.
He also appealed the entire country to remain united so that no enemy or external force could make use of the situation.
The press conference comes as protests spearheaded by the TLP against the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Aasiya Bibi case run into their third day.
Photos and videos from various protest sites across the country have shown protesters damaging private and public property and issuing inciteful statements against the country’s leadership, and members of the judiciary and army.