Pak clerics reject blasphemy allegations against Taseer



Lahore: A Barelvi group has rejected allegations that slain Governor Salmaan Taseer had committed blasphemy and said those who are invoking Islamic injunctions to defend his assassin had acted without conducting any academic research.

The Minhajul Quran International’s ulema council or body of clerics has defended the late governor, who was gunned down in January by Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a police guard who was part of his security detail.

Qadri has said he killed Taseer for criticising Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

After an anti-terrorism court gave Qadri the death sentence earlier this month, religious groups have rallied to his defence, saying he had not done anything wrong as he had killed a blasphemer.

The Minhajul Quran International said those defending Qadri were acting without doing the necessary academic research.

"Salmaan Taseer's statement did not amount to blasphemy since great Muslim scholars and jurists had categorically specified all the statements that amount to blasphemy of the Holy Prophet, and Taseer’s statement should be examined in the light of those before proceeding further in this regard," said Farhat Hussain Shah, nazim of the Minhajul Quran International?s ulema council.

Shah made the remarks while replying to questions at a press conference in Lahore Press Club yesterday.

Replying to another query, he criticised all those campaigning for Qadri’s release, saying: "They are waging the movement without proper academic research on the relevant Shariah laws dealing with blasphemy against the Prophet.

The Minhajul Quran International’s stand is in marked contrast to that of other Barelvi religious parties, which are waging a countrywide movement for revoking the death sentence given to Qadri.

PTI