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MAULANA Fazlur Rahman addresses the rally on Shahrah-i-Quaideen.—Online
MAULANA Fazlur Rahman addresses the rally on Shahrah-i-Quaideen.—Online

KARACHI: The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal staged a huge rally on Shahrah-i-Quaideen on Thursday where leaders of the five-party alliance vowed to continue their struggle across the country for the “protection of the blasphemy law”.

Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who is the MMA president, criticised the Supreme Court’s verdict to acquit Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case, saying that the decision was taken “only under pressure of international forces”. He, however, took the opportunity to target more the government of his rival Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for the final verdict in the Aasia Bibi case.

“The incumbent rulers were brought in power under a set agenda,” he said. “They have been brought to power to weaken Pakistan’s sovereignty and ideological identity. But we are here to counter every such move which is against Islamic guidance and the ideology of Pakistan. We are not afraid of any state action and would continue our struggle to achieve our target.”

Without naming any individual or organisation, he said “the agents of Jews” had brought a planned agenda, but warned that he and his party would never let anyone “hoist Israeli flag in Pakistan”. The MMA chief also announced that they would hold rallies and protest demonstrations across the country on Friday [today] against the release of Aasia Bibi and gave a roadmap of activities from the platform of the alliance for the next few weeks.

Leaders vow to ‘continue struggle for protection of blasphemy law’, decide to hold protests today

“After this successful rally, we would be gathering in Lahore on Nov 15 for a million march and then on Nov 25, the MMA would organise a Khatm-i-Nubuwwat conference in Sukkur. We would not compromise when it comes to respect of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] and use our every legal and constitutional right for peaceful protests,” added the maulana.

The rally was also addressed by Karachi chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami and MMA Hafiz Naeemur Rahman, who warned that the people of Pakistan would not accept Aasia Bibi’s flight from the country and the government would have to pay a heavy price for any such move.

“Before coming to power, Imran Khan had vowed not to seek assistance from the IMF but he within three months of his government has started begging from the international body. Similarly, when he was in opposition he had warned the then government against any move that could affect the blasphemy law. It’s so unfortunate and uncovers the true character of Imran Khan and his party that he is taking all those measures which he had opposed in the past,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018