Sunni Ittehad vows to resist amendments

Published: December 1, 2010
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To lobby MPs against proposed changes to the blasphemy laws. PHOTO:RIAZ AHMED/EXPRESS

To lobby MPs against proposed changes to the blasphemy laws. PHOTO:RIAZ AHMED/EXPRESS

LAHORE: The Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) has vowed to resist any move to amend or scrap the blasphemy laws.

“We reject the parliamentary committee set up to suggest amendments to the blasphemy laws,” Sahibzada Fazle Karim, chairman of the council, told reporters at the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday.

He said that Article 227 of the Constitution did not allow any amendments to the blasphemy laws.

He said that the SIC had formed a delegation that would meet with parliamentarians and write letters to them to convince them not to support any change to the blasphemy laws.

Karim, flanked by 12 other leaders of the SIC at the press conference, praised the Lahore High Court’s recent direction to the president and the Punjab government not to take any action in the Aasia Bibi blasphemy case until court proceedings are finished.

He criticised the Punjab government for restricting their recent long march from Rawalpindi to Lahore. He said the Sunni Ittehad would observe Friday as a “Condemnation Day” to protest against the government for “baton charging, shelling and creating hurdles in the way of the long march”.

Human rights activists say the blasphemy laws are unfair and must be changed. “The blasphemy laws have been controversial since their inception,” said Advocate Anis AA Saadi of Free Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement.

“After a struggle of more than two decades, rights organisations have paved the way for a repeal or amendment to these anti-human laws. But some fundamentalist segments of society are resisting it for personal gain,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2010.

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