01/05/2011, 00.00
PAKISTAN - INDIA
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Christians honour Salman Taseer, a courageous victim of the blasphemy law

by Nirmala Carvalho
For Fr. James Chennan, Vice Provincial of the Dominicans in Lahore, the country has lost a promoter of human rights, loved by minorities. Indian Christian leaders condemn Taseer’s murder, one of the few credible voices of Pakistan.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - While Pakistan buries Salman Taseer and announces three days of national mourning, Fr James Channan Vice Provincial of the Dominicans in Pakistan speaks to AsiaNews.

"Salman Taseer is the latest victim of the blasphemy law - says the priest - The governor of Punjab was brave to speak out against such a controversial topic such as blasphemy. Minorities loved him very much. We have lost a promoter of human rights. "

The priest lives in Lahore in Punjab and in recent years and had formed a personal relationships with Taseer. "I often met the governor - he says - the last time on December 23 when I attended the celebrations for Christmas at his home." Fr. Chennan confirms that on that occasion Taseer had condemned the blasphemy law, stressing that there is no need for these 'obscure rules' in a country 96% Muslim.

"The governor - adds the priest - also stressed that a State is recognized by how it treats minorities and condemned the Muslim attacks against Christian villages in Gojra and Korian occurred in 2009."

News of Taseer’s death of has shaken Indian Christians. John Dayal, secretary general of the All Indian Christian Council, called the governor of Punjab, "one of the few sane voices of Pakistan" because of his position against the blasphemy laws and commitment in favour of a pardon for Asia Bibi. Even Sajan George President of the Global Council of Indian Christian (GCIC) has condemned the murder, stressing that the death of the leader represents a turning point in the battle to repeal the blasphemy law. "

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