Pakistan on blasphemy law strike

Thousands of supporters of Islamic parties chanting anti-American slogans rallied in the southwestern town of Chaman bordering Afghanistan.

Pakistan on blasphemy law strike

Businesses were shut across Pakistan on Friday in a protest strike over moves to amend a blasphemy law.

Conservative religious groups called for a national strike in a bid to block any intended amendment after thousands of Islamists rallied in major cities last week.

The strike went ahead despite a categorical announcement by deputy information minister Samsam Bokhari on Thursday that the government had no intention to amend the controversial law.

Thousands of supporters of Islamic parties chanting anti-American slogans rallied in the southwestern town of Chaman bordering Afghanistan and warned the government against any move to change the blasphemy law.

"This government is planning to change the blasphemy law under foreign pressure but Muslims of this country will never allow it to do so," Abdul Raheem Mazhari, a cleric and a local leader of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam party, told protesters.

All major markets and business centres were closed in big cities and towns. Public transport was not running in Karachi, Pakistan's commercial capital and biggest city.

A alliance of over a dozen Islamist parties announced the call for the general strike on Dec. 15.

Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy. Most of those given the death penalty have their sentences overturned or commuted on appeal through the courts.


Agencies

Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2010, 17:31
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