Clerics receive threats for conducting Taseer funeral prayers

Three Pakistani clerics who conducted the funeral and memorial prayers for slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer have received death threats, police Said Thursday.

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2011, 14:36 PM IST

Lahore: Three Pakistani clerics who
conducted the funeral and memorial prayers for slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer have received death threats, police Said Thursday.

Maulana Afzal Chishti, the head of the `ulema` or
clerics` wing of the ruling PPP, had led the funeral prayer
for Taseer along with Qari Muhammad Younus.

The `qul or memorial ceremony was led by Qari Akhtar
Qureshi.

"We have provided police guards to two clerics - Younus
and Qureshi - after they received death threats probably from
those who consider Taseer a blasphemer," a senior police
officer, who did not want to be named, said

The third cleric, Chishti, had gone into hiding because
he feared for the lives of his family members, the police
officer said.

Taseer was gunned down in Islamabad on January 4 by a
police guard who said he was angered by the Governor`s
criticism of the controversial blasphemy law.
After a group of over 500 clerics and scholars of the
Barelvi school of thought asked Muslims not to lead or offer
the funeral prayer for Taseer, top clerics in Lahore had
refused to lead the `namaz-e-janaza`.

"Younis and Qureshi have publicly expressed regret for
participating in the prayers and re-embraced Islam after
admitting their mistake due to pressure from hardliners, but
we cannot withdraw the security provided to them," the police
officer said.
The clerics of the historical Badshahi Mosque, the Data
Darbar shrine and the mosque at the Governor`s House had
refused to lead the funeral prayer for Taseer.

Several groups of clerics had announced that anyone who
led the funeral prayer of a "blasphemer" would be considered
an infidel.

PTI