NA session: PTI calls for review of blasphemy law

Published: September 25, 2013
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“The laws are being misused and I had also opposed the law in the past ," President PTI Makhdoom Javed Hashmi . PHOTO: APP/FILE

“The laws are being misused and I had also opposed the law in the past ," President PTI Makhdoom Javed Hashmi . PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The issue of misuse of the blasphemy laws was raised by the lawmakers in the National Assembly on Tuesday in the wake of Council of Islamic Ideology’s (CII) recommendations that the existing blasphemy laws did not require any amendments.

“The laws are being misused and I had also opposed the law in the past, violating the party discipline,” Makhdoom Javed Hashmi of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said while addressing the National Assembly.

He said several non-Muslims were languishing in jails due to the misuse of the existing laws as religion was being used by some to attain power. Reviewing the existing laws has become the need of the hour, he added.

Dr Shireen Mazari of PTI also supported his views and said Parliament should at least remove the lacunas, if any, from the existing blasphemy laws.

PTI’s Dr. Arif Alvi also supported the idea of revamping the existing laws.

In response, Sahibzada Mohammad Yaqoob of the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) defended the blasphemy laws and asked Hashmi to move a bill seeking an amendment to the law or to approach the CII or the Federal Shariat Court.

Debate on Peshawar Attack

Meanwhile, lawmakers from both sides of the isle condemned the Peshawar blasts and supported the government’s initiative of holding talks with the Taliban saying the attacks were aimed at sabotaging the peace process.

However, Jamshed Ahmed Dasti, an independent member of the lower house, had divergent views. “The Peshawar attack is a US conspiracy against Pakistan,” he said.

But there were several others who linked the Peshawar attack with Prime Minister’s visit to US and pointed fingers at hidden forces who they alleged do not want stability in Pakistan.

While justifying his views from the rest of the MPs, Dasti said “They got elected on party tickets and they cannot talk about anything against party policy. I am not answerable to any party leader, therefore, am free to say what I feel,” he added.

Dasti also demanded that DG ISI and army chief should also brief other members of this house as well and went on to say that the “APC was a fraud.”

During the debate several leaders including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, PTI chief Imran Khan and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman were absent. “I wish they were here at this moment,” said Mir Munawar Talpur of the PPP.

Supporting the dialogue process Hashmi lamented the Peshawar attacks saying “what have we made of this country where even places of worship are not secure.” Action should be taken against those who [Taliban] do not want to hold talks, he added.

Dr. Mazari said that the dialogue process will clearly distinguish those who were in favour of talks, and that an operation should be conducted against those not interested in negotiating.

Tariq Christopher Qaiser said that legislation should not be theocratic. “All Pakistanis should be given equal rights,” he said, adding that no culprits involved in the Church attack have been arrested as yet.

Minister for Ports and Shipping Kamran Michael said the attack was an attempt at sabotaging efforts for establishing peace. “These attempts should be discouraged,” he added.

Lal Chand said that there should be no discrimination with the minorities. He pointed out discrimination in the text of oath. “Why other religions are not taught in the school as children from minorities are bound to opt subject about ‘Ethics’ or go for Islamiat,” he questioned rhetorically.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • saeed
    Sep 25, 2013 - 1:11AM

    ET where is the news of stock exchange getting crashed and Rupee plunged to the record 108…don’t you consider all this news..instead why concentrate only what PTI does or not..Pakistan’s economy is in disaster…Petrol prices increased 5 times…rupee depreciated 10 percent…inflation highest…I pray that ET get well soon..

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  • Califonian Desi
    Sep 25, 2013 - 1:19AM

    Shamelessly blame on “Hidden Forces” while turning blind eye to the facts.

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  • Hehe
    Sep 25, 2013 - 1:27AM

    PTI talking about amending blasphemy laws? Where are the ‘Liberals’ now? Their silence on positive initiatives taken by PTI (most notably the RTI law) pretty much reflects the bias they have against IK and his party.

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  • Dj
    Sep 25, 2013 - 1:35AM

    Where are Pml n supporters now? Supporters of ASWJ’s extremist policiesRecommend

  • Gp65
    Sep 25, 2013 - 1:36AM

    Respect. This was an act of courage.Recommend

  • Wb
    Sep 25, 2013 - 1:39AM

    We need more brave parties like PTI.

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  • Sik
    Sep 25, 2013 - 1:43AM

    and went on to say that the “APC was a fraud.”
    Right on by Mr.Dasti

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  • Baloch Insafian
    Sep 25, 2013 - 1:45AM

    Hold on!
    Wasn’t PTI termed as Taliban ally by some pseudo-intellectuals few days ago?

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  • Sep 25, 2013 - 2:04AM

    PTI’s “topi drama.”

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  • Muhammad
    Sep 25, 2013 - 2:12AM

    Finally! Take that PTI haters!

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  • Salman
    Sep 25, 2013 - 2:50AM

    Wait, I thought the more “liberal” parties like PPP, MQM, and ANP already amended these laws in their 5 years of government as coalition partners. They didn’t? Ahh, what a shame!

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  • Umar R.
    Sep 25, 2013 - 3:11AM

    Okay now i am worried about the safety of PTI people. There are ignorant people all-around us and they can twist the words of “reviewing” into something like “repealing”. And then who knows (#salmantaseer).
    I think not only 295-c PPC should’ve been reviewed along time ago but there should be equal punishment to the person who lodged the complaint IF his information is found to be false and his intentions were more personal towards the accused.

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  • Ahmed
    Sep 25, 2013 - 3:34AM

    a good step by PTI

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  • Aysha M
    Sep 25, 2013 - 3:36AM

    PTI talking sense now, sounds more like MQM.
    Starting from 1974 when religion was brought into public domain, the social fabric started to collapse. Pls repeal Ahmadiya laws and the follow up blasphemy laws, we were better off as a nation before these legislation. Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Sep 25, 2013 - 3:37AM

    The law is being misused ! So the solution is to abolish it? Like the pseudo-liberals want?And not change ourselves(who are misusing the law). The law is fine. Amend yourselves.

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  • gul
    Sep 25, 2013 - 4:08AM

    Finally some sense from pti. Please pursue this with all honesty and ignore JI. They are quite good at confusing people with there narrow minded, self serving, egotistical views and interpretations.

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  • unbelievable
    Sep 25, 2013 - 7:06AM

    Positive move – time for the other parties to step up to the plate.

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  • faisal
    Sep 25, 2013 - 9:01AM

    The ‘law’ is not “FINE” because it does not allow evidence to be presented in court. It also does not allow u to repeat what the accused said because the law feels it would be another blasphemy. If so many muslim countries are doing fine without this law and so many counties with large muslim minorities are ok without it, why do we need it in a heavily armed 97% muslim country? Who would dare do blasphemy here ?

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  • Ali
    Sep 25, 2013 - 10:34AM

    @Hehe: Noone is biased against Imran Khan or PTI. If you do good solid work which we all expect of you of course the whole country will commend you. But negate you also when you digress and given into foolish ideas i.e Your stance on terrorism in the country. You and your young party members will do well to learn to tolerate opposing views. Not lambasting every person on any social media platform with a different view or idolizing your leader to a point where your party transforms into a cult. No party or person is perfect.

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  • liaqat ali
    Sep 25, 2013 - 10:55AM

    PTI should stop delivering good speaches only and get down to work.Let them introduce bills to amend blasphemy laws and women rights bill .This is the only time PTI should be appreciated and other parties opposing the bills condemned. Short of this, talk is cheap.Let them expose all including and especially PMLN.

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  • Nawaz Sharif
    Sep 25, 2013 - 2:44PM

    So Dasti sahab is still independent MP. And then ET was telling us he is joining PTI. LOL!

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  • my leader
    Sep 25, 2013 - 5:28PM

    Well people. More to come, New article just posted that IK wanted TTP to open their office for negotiations. All haters will attack. Please answer logically that if they can open office in Qatar (only of negotiations) then why not here.

    IK zindabad,

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Sep 25, 2013 - 5:38PM

    No one can spit on the sun . All religion on the earth is for the glory of god – The supreem power , then how one can dimnish its innate massage , therefore there is no need of such a black law .
    Yes the Islam being attempted to propagate by terrorists definetly need the protection of blashphemy law .

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  • Usman Waraich
    Sep 25, 2013 - 10:30PM

    An act of courage by PTI.

    It needs to be followed through by introducing a bill in the parliament after discussions with other political parties san the mullah inc. to generate consensus so that the bill actually sees the light of the day.

    Although I remain disappointed at IK’s response to the church atrocity, I think credit should be given where its due and in today’s explosively bigoted environment in the country, this is an act of courage and should be backed by all who endeavor to make Pakistan a pluralist society.

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  • Sep 26, 2013 - 5:36AM

    This is an interesting, and welcomed development, including from the other PTI members, which seems unexpected.

    Javed Hashmi’s brave views and attempt may not go down well with the likes of Hafiz Saeed, so it is quite something.

    Disappointment continues with the other opposition parties.

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  • sabi
    Sep 26, 2013 - 12:20PM

    @Gp65:
    ”Respect. This was an act of courage.”
    I’m waiting another statement from said leader-‘My views were taken out of context I didn’t say like that’.Recommend

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