Fazl blames govt for turmoil after blasphemy accused’s acquittal

Updated November 03, 2018


Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a protest rally at Firdaus Chowk, Peshawar, on Friday. — White Star
Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a protest rally at Firdaus Chowk, Peshawar, on Friday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday held the PTI government responsible for the current turmoil in the wake of the acquittal of Christian woman Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case and announced that the countrywide agitation would continue until the government was ousted.

“Our protest will continue until the government is sunk in the Arabian Sea,” Mr Fazl told a rally here.

Seminarians and activists of other religious groups also attended the rally to condemn the Supreme Court’s verdict in Aasia Bibi blasphemy case.

Says agitation will continue until PTI govt ousted

The charged crowd demanded withdrawal of the judgment.

The rally paralysed traffic and business activities in old part of the city.

The Jamaat-i-Islami, political ally of the JUI-F also staged separate protest rally in the city.

Addressing protesters, Mr Fazl said the Supreme Court’s verdict to acquit Aasia Bibi had been issued under the US and Europe’s pressure, while the rulers wanted to turn the country into a secular state.

“Americans, Europeans and secular forces have welcomed the acquittal of Aasia Bibi and showered praise on the chief justice but the controversial verdict has disappointed Muslims,” he said.

The JUI-F chief criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘aggressive tone’ in address to the nation and warned him against using threatening language.

“We know about the culprit behind the (SC) verdict. You (Imran) is responsible for this controversial judgment,” he insisted.

Mr Fazl said the JUI had forced imperialists to leave the Indian subcontinent, while his party would bring the government down.

“Do not push us against the wall otherwise we will throw your government out,” he warned the prime minister.

The JUI-F chief came down heavily on the PPP and PML-N for supporting the court’s verdict in Aasia Bibi blasphemy case.

He said the PPP had yet to accept the court’s judgment to hang its founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, while the PML-N was criticising the disqualification of its supremo, Nawaz Sharif.

Mr Fazl said he had been crying for the last one decade about the implementation of the western agenda in the country through local agents.

“The recent decisions of the government proved that my apprehensions were correct,” he said.

He warned the people could ‘paralyse the system to fix’ the government.

PROTESTS: Religious parties continued to stage rallies across the province against the blasphemy case verdict bringing life to a standstill.

Major roads and highways remained closed in different areas.

In Mingora, angry protesters blocked all roads leading to Green Chowk.

Mostly students of seminaries and activists of religio-political parties, they took to the streets on the call of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and other religious organisations.

They gathered at the Green Chowk and shouted slogans against the Supreme Court judges, Aasia Bibi and the PTI government.

In Swabi city, the JUI-F and Khatm-i-Nabuwat party jointly staged a demonstration against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi in blasphemy case after Friday congregation.

The protesters marched through the main bazaar and demanded punishment for the blasphemy accused.

They warned that their protest would continue until the Supreme Court reversed acquittal in the Aasia Bibi case.

The protesters also demanded of the PTI government to go.

In Khar area of Bajaur tribal district, too, religio-political parties staged rallies against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi.

A large number of party workers and people attended the rallies.

In Karak, the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal took out a procession after Friday prayer against the Supreme Court verdict in Aasia Bibi case and insisted that the announcement was a step toward the abolition of the blasphemy law in the country.

In Ghalanai area of Mohmand tribal district, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, JUI-F and other religious parties staged a demonstration against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi after Friday prayer.

The protesters marched from Chanda area to the Mohmand Press Club and demanded that the Supreme Court review acquittal of the blasphemy accused without delay.

They also blocked the main Peshawar-Bajaur Road for half an hour. The law-enforcement agencies beefed up security in the area.

In Timergara, hundreds of political workers marched on Balambat-Timergara Road against the acquittal of blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi.

The demonstration was held on the call of the Jamaat-i-Islami Lower Dir chapter, which was attended by workers of other religious organisations as well.

In parts of Shangla district, too, protests were held against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi on the call of religious parties.

The protesters demanded death penalty for the blasphemy accused and warned that they won’t end street protests until her name was put on the exit control list.

They blocked roads suspending traffic for long hours to the misery of motorists and commuters.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2018