Karachi, women on streets in support of the blasphemy law
Karachi (AsiaNews) - The women's wing of the Islamic movement Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has demonstrated on the streets of Karachi against possible amendments to the blasphemy law. The protest took place yesterday after Friday prayers: the crowd gathered in Mazar-e-Quaid - the National Mausoleum, better known as the tomb that houses the remains of the founder Ali Jinnah - and marched to the area of Numaish Chowrangi. The young women students - from different schools and institutions of the city - shouted slogans and brandished placards against those who want to change the "black law".
Addressing the crowd, Ghafoor Ahmed - a member of JI - confirmed that "no attempt to touch the law will be allowed", the spirit of the Pakistani students, he added, shows that the country "will soon become a true Islamic nation." The vice-president Ashraf Jalali, who led the protest, made it clear that any condemnation of Mumtaz Qadri - the murderess of the Punjab Governor Salman Taseer - will lead to further demonstrations and protests, because he is "a hero of the Muslim ummah".
Members of the fundamentalist movement also demanded the expulsion of all Vatican officials in Pakistan, for what they call "interference" in internal affairs by Benedict XVI. On 10 January, the Pope, during his meeting with the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, had claimed the right to religious freedom and called for the repeal of the blasphemy law.
On January 30, Islamic fundamentalists have launched a national demonstration in support of the "black law" and promised a "long march" to Islamabad if Asia Bibi, the 45 year old Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy and pending appeal, is not executed. Also on January 30, however, the bishop of Islamabad / Rawalpini, Mgr. Anthony Rufin, proclaimed a day of fasting and prayer for Asia and for peace and harmony all over Pakistan.