Thousands rally in Lahore over blasphemy law

About 40,000 people rallied in Lahore in the latest protest against proposed reforms of the blasphemy law.

Afp January 30, 2011

LAHORE: About 40,000 people rallied in Lahore on Sunday in the latest protest against proposed reforms of a controversial blasphemy law, police said.

Religious groups have held protests in several Pakistani cities since former Punjab governor Salman Taseer vowed to amend the law, that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death. Taseer's stance enraged the country's increasingly conservative religious base and he was assassinated on January 4 by his own security guard, who has said he killed the governor over his support for reform.

Under intense pressure from religious parties, Pakistan's government has since said it had no intentions to amend the law.

Demonstrators from religious parties Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity linked with 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, held banners in support of Mumtaz Qadri -- the police commando who shot dead Taseer.

Participants chanted slogans including "Free Mumtaz Qadri", "We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the honour of Prophet Mohammad" and "Changes in blasphemy law not accepted."

An AFP reporter saw activists carrying effigies of Pope Benedict XVI and Pakistani minorities affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti shouting slogans "Allah-o-Akbar."

Local government official Tariq Zaman put the overall number of protesters at 40,000.

Leaders of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Quaid-i-Azam group also addressed the rally.

Event organisers called the brothers of two Pakistani men shot dead by a US national in Lahore on Thursday to the stage and pledged their support for the victims' families in pursuing a murder case.

The US man, named as Raymond Davis, is being held at a police station on double murder charges over the shooting of the two motorcyclists.

The US embassy had claimed diplomatic immunity on his behalf while Davis, who has been held at a Lahore police station since the incident, told a magistrate's court Friday that he had fired in self-defence.


SARANG LATIF | 11 years ago | Reply this is the reply to that person who is posting comments by the name of mumtaz qadri. there are only 40,000 mumtaz qadri present in lahore but there are 17.6 crore salman taseer present all over pakistan. so plz stop forcing ur believes on us. we know what is right or wrong. u cannot intimidate the majority... so look out for 17.6 crore salman taseer out there...
Mubarak | 11 years ago | Reply @ Humanity: "Enjoy the eggs laid by Zia the Duck." Those eggs have already hatched and ducklings have become full ducks themselves, laying more eggs and producing more ducklings. The growth of these ducks has been exponential and there is no room left for normal human beings. God save Pakistan.
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