Karachi: Shouting anti-government slogans,
thousands of people marched in Pakistan`s financial
capital to oppose any amendments in the controversial
blasphemy laws and praised the man charged with killing Punjab
Governor Salmaan Taseer who dubbed it as "black law".
Outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed appeared in
the rally, attended by Jamiat Ulema’e-Pakistan chief Maulana
Fazal-ur-Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawwar Hasan.
The demonstrators centered around the M A Jinnah Road
and the Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam in Saddar area here with
people converging in the area on the call of the splinter of
conservative religio-political parties who oppose any changes
to the laws that make insulting Islam a capital offense.
Wearing green headbands and holding flags with the
Quranic verses inscribed on them, hundreds of youngsters, some
of them wielding sticks, shouted slogans against the Pakistani
government and the United States.
Some even shouted slogans in favour of arrested police
commando Mumtaz Hussain Qadri who shot dead Taseer last week.
"Mumtaz Qadri is not a murderer, he is a hero," said
one banner in Urdu. "We are ready to sacrifice our lives for
the dignity of the Prophet Mohammad," read another.
Maulana Rehman said Governor Taseer "was responsible
for his own murder" because he had criticised the law and
warned the government against making amendments in the law.
"We will organise protest rallies from next week in
every mohalla and city, the blasphemy law issue is not just
the issue of Pakistani Muslims but of the entire Islamic
Ummah," Rehman told the gathering.
He said that when no effort had been made to amend
other laws like the ones dealing with corruption or the civil
death sentence then why was an issue being made of the
"This is the conspiracy of people who want to divide
the Islamic world and our nation," he said.
JeI chief Hasan alleged that attempts were being made
to amend the blasphemy law at the behest of Western forces.
Senior police officer Irshad Khan put down the number
of participants in the rally was between 30,000 to 40,000.
"The participants came from all parts of the city but
there were no untoward incidents or any violence as the rally
was held peacefully and no one disturbed the nearby businesses
or transport on the road," he said.
Police had blocked all entrances leading to the rally
point for public and private transport while cinema houses put
black cloths on the huge billboards outside their halls.
Taseer was killed in Islamabad by his guard who said
he felt insulted by the deceased Governor`s remarks about the
law under which a Christian mother of five was sentenced to
death for using disparaging remarks against the Prophet.