Karachi: Following the assassination of liberal politician Salman Taseer, it has been reported that fatwas are being issued against Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman, declaring her a non-Muslim and demanding a death sentence for her.
In November 2010, Sherry Rehman had submitted a private member bill in the National Assembly Secretariat seeking amendments to soften Pakistan’s controversial Blasphemy Law.
The Daily Times has learnt that the Imam of Sultan Masjid, Munir Ahmed Shakir, has issued a fatwa against her, and another fatwa has been published in a pamphlet and distributed by the Tanzeem-e-Islami (TI).
When contacted, Shakir denied issuing fatwa against Sherry, saying that he was not a mufti.
“In my opinion, the facts are open about Punjab Governor Salman Taseer’s murder, none should try to hatch conspiracies in this regard,” he added.
Everyone should remain in the limits of law and Constitution, he said, adding that anyone who committed blasphemy would be sentenced to death under the country’s law.
TI’s Karachi Ameer, Shujauddin Shaikh, also denied that the organisation had published any pamphlet containing such a fatwa, saying that the only one it published was a joint pamphlet issued by all components of the Tahafuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat.
He said it was written in the pamphlet that the PPP government had hurt the feelings of the people by tabling a bill to amend the blasphemy law, through MNA Sherry Rehman, and made a committee under the chairmanship of minority affairs minister for the purpose.
“We have distributed the pamphlet and we own it. It is also available on our website. Sherry has demanded review of the whole process of blasphemy law, including punishment for the blasphemer,” he concluded.
When contacted, Sherry said the people who issued fatwas against her had not read what she asked for. “We are all Muslims, and you can’t be a Muslim without protecting the Prophet’s (PBUH) sanctity.”
She said the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a struggle against injustice. “That is what we seek. What they are doing is pure incitement to violence,” she added.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has suggested that Sherry must leave the country, as her life is in danger.
Punjab governor Salman Taseer had fallen victim to such a fatwa for taking up the cudgels for Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy.
First Published: Sunday, January 09, 2011, 12:45