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Maulana Fazalur Rehman (2L) chief of the Pakistani religious party Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) addresses the crowd during a rally in Karachi on January 9, 2011, against the amendment of the Blasphemy law. More than 50,000 people rallied in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, police said, against the controversial reform of a blasphemy law that was behind the killing of a senior politician. Religious groups blocked a main thoroughfare in Karachi's teeming metropolis holding banners in support of the police commando who shot dead Punjab governor Salman Taseer on January 4, 2011 over his views in favour of the law's amendment. – Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain has appealed to ulema of various schools of thought to stop their demonstrations after clear assurances by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani that no amendment is being made in the blasphemy law.

He was addressing via telephone from London to an assembly of the office bearers of various wings of his party at Khursheed Begum Memorial Hall at Azizabad, said a statement issued by MQM here Tuesday.

He said Islam is a religion of peace and it gives us lesson to respect all religions.

Islam not only gives a message of peace to the Muslims but also guarantees peace and security to the non-Muslims, he added.

He was of the view that history tells us that kings, monarchs and rulers have always exploited religion to legitimize their rule and perpetuate their power.

He said the Holy Prophet (pbuh) brought mercy and blessings for all and also treated non-Muslims, even his enemies well.

He said his party respects all schools of thought and it has been working for the last 32 years to promote interfaith harmony.

Prime Minister, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has categorically stated in a press conference that the government is bringing no change to the blasphemy law.

He appealed to ulema to stop protests after clear assurance by the Prime Minister that no amendment is being made in the blasphemy law.

Altaf said he has always preached peace, security, dignity of human beings and moderation as told in the Holy Quran and enunciated by the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

“I have always maintained that whoever you are and whatever sect you belong to or whatever school of thought you subscribe to, you should respect everyone. Do not hate anyone.” he said

He said “Everyone has a right to live. You must all adore Allah according to your way. It is for Allah to judge as to who is right and who is wrong. It is for Allah to decide as to who will go to heaven and who will go to hell on the Day of Judgment and not for man.”

He said the extremists want to destroy the environment of tolerance and inter-faith harmony in Pakistan particularly in Sindh and want to promote intolerance but while MQM is yet present, they would not succeed.

He said the MQM is a political party that believes in tolerance and inter-faith harmony.

We are not only working for unity among Muslims but also unity among various faiths as well. We want to promote moderation and establish an environment where people respect religious sentiments of others, he said.

We should not only revere mosques and imam bargahs but also give protection to all other places of worship.

Altaf Hussain also asked the office-bearers of various wings of MQM to hold corner meetings in every nook and corner to promote tolerance and inter-faith harmony. – APP