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Aasia is in Pakistan, won’t leave till end of legal process: minister

Updated November 13, 2018

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Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri ays state has accepted apology by those who gave fatwas against army chief, judges. — File photo
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri ays state has accepted apology by those who gave fatwas against army chief, judges. — File photo

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said on Monday that Aasia Bibi, who was recently acquitted by the Supreme Court in a blasphemy case, was still in Pakistan and would not leave the country till the “finalisation of legal process”.

“Aasia Bibi is very much in Pakistan as I address this august gathering,” the minister said while addressing a Tahafuz-i-Namoos-i-Risalat conference here.

He dispelled the rumours of Aasia Bibi leaving the country as “mere propaganda”.

As far as any alteration in the Section 295-C (blasphemy law) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) was concerned, he said it was very much part of the Constitution and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government did not intend to change it. He added the government would rather “defend” the blasphemy law “on every forum”.

Says state has accepted apology by those who gave fatwas against army chief, judges

“It was Prime Minister Imran Khan who got the competition of blasphemous caricature (to be held in the Netherlands) postponed through diplomacy. The Dutch government was persuaded by the PTI to cancel the competition and avoid hurting the Muslims’ feelings. Every Muslim is committed to the respect and finality of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) because this is an essential part of the faith. That is why the PTI government is this time observing Eid-i-Miladun Nabi at the official level and (with) religious fervour,” he said.

He said the courts were there to define and redefine every law in the country. Had the entire case of Aasia Bibi been fought in the courts, the results might have been different, he told his audience. Unfortunately, the case was taken to the streets for no reason, he added.

“The review petition is with the Supreme Court and all of us should wait for the final verdict instead of resorting to violence on the roads,” Mr Noor said.

He said it was unfortunate that fatwas were issued against those who had “true faith” and were performing their professional duties. Mercifully, he said, the army did not react in spite of insult to its chief and the judiciary kept its cool despite the anti-judges statements.

“Those who issued these verdicts and statements said sorry and the state has forgiven them. This forgiveness now necessitates that all should respect law of the land and let it take its course.

“There are some people who want violence on the streets. They wanted the government to call the army or the Rangers in to control violence and spill blood in the process. But, the government did not want it to happen. As Prime Minister Imran Khan underlined in his speech, the government wanted solution of all issues through dialogues. That is precisely why the state only used persuasive power to clear roads and end sit-ins. It is the time all should respect law and state,” he concluded.

Earlier, he addressed another conference titled “Jaan-e-Rehmat Seeratun Nabi (SAWW) conference” at a private educational institution and said that the Ummah’s love for the Holy Prophet (SAWW) is infinite. This love is the foundation of personal faith and the state, he added.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2018

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