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Govt not amending blasphemy law, says PM

January 18, 2011



Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minsiter Yousuf Raza Gilani Tuesday urged religious leaders to propagate the true interpretation of Islam and educate people about its teachings of tolerance and mutual respect for each other's religions.

Addressing religious scholars at the “Ulema and Mashaikh Conference 2011” at the National Library here, Gilani reiterated that the government had no plans to amend the blasphemy law, but stressed that no law should be misused.

“We are not amending the blasphemy law,” Prime Minister Gilani said in response to the points raised by religious leaders during the conference.

Prime Minister Gilani said a committee was setup by the Pakistan People’s Party at the party level to see whether any legislation that is moved by its members has its endorsement.

He said religious leaders must not have any fear and apprehension that anything would be done contrary to Islam or its teachings by the present government.

On the sanctity of constitution and rule of law, Prime Minister said the law of the land must be adhered to.

“We are not in the favour of amendment in the blasphemy law, but we are not in favour of misuse of the law either...and it does not matter what law it is,” Gilani added.

Prime Minister Gilani said any acts of violence bring bad name to the religion and are seen unfavourably in the West. He said it also makes the lives of Pakistanis abroad miserable. Therefore it is vital that Islam is portrayed in the right perspective and is not distorted, he said.

Gilani urged for closer collaboration between scholars of different religions for better understanding and to bring peace and tranquility.

He rejected the notion that Islam was the cause behind the acts of terror and extremism and said in fact it was a religion of peace and abhorred violence. He said following of real teachings of Islam was the only way to get rid of the scourge of terrorism that had spread its tentacles across the globe.

He said his government believed in taking along all political forces and appreciated the opposition for being supportive of the government on all national issues.

Earlier, religious leaders spoke about Islam's universal message of peace, love and tolerance and that it believed in peaceful coexistence with people of all religions. The speakers regretted distortion of the religion by certain vested interests and urged a deeper understanding of the Quran and Sunnah by all.

They said Islam did not differentiate between people of any caste, colour or creed.

Religious leaders were of the view that there were no two opinions about the honour and dignity accorded to Prophet Mohammad and pointed that the Quran and Sunnah were very clear about it. They said no one would be allowed to bring any changes in the blasphemy law.