Islamabad: Pakistan President Asif Ali
Zardari on Thursday asked Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti
to continue consultations with scholars and clerics to build
"consensus against misuse of laws against the minorities and
Zardari asked Bhatti, a Christian, to hold
consultations with scholars and clerics of different faiths
and denominations for the exercise, said a statement issued by
the presidential spokesman.
The government "will protect the minorities at all
costs in accordance with the vision" of Pakistan`s founder
Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Constitution, Zardari said.
He told Bhatti, who called on him at the presidency,
that "no one would be allowed to take the law into their own
hands nor will anyone be allowed to misuse the country`s
The statement made no reference to the country`s
controversial blasphemy law, which Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani has said will not be amended.
Zardari had initially asked Bhatti in November to head
a committee of scholars and experts to recommend "reformed
procedures to effectively prevent the misuse of the blasphemy
law for personal and political reasons."
This was done after a court in Punjab province
sentenced Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, to death for allegedly
insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who came to the
defence of Asia Bibi and called for a review of the blasphemy
law, was assassinated earlier this month by a police guard who
said he was angered by the politician`s criticism of the
Religious hardliners have targeted critics of the
blasphemy law and warned the government against repealing or