Pakistani Muslims threaten chaos if Christian woman not executed for ‘blasphemy’
Hundreds of Muslims marched in the eastern city of Lahore after the most influential Sunni Muslim alliance in Pakistan urged the Government not to grant mother-of-five Aasia Bibi clemency.
A crowd of several hundred called for “Jihad” and pledged to sacrifice their lives to protect the honour of Muhammad.
The rally was organised by a subsidiary of banned charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the United Nations has blacklisted as a terrorist organisation.
“We will hold nationwide protests if the government pardons the Christian woman,” the subsidiary’s chief coordinator, Qari Yaqub, told participants.
Politicians and conservative clerics have been at loggerheads over whether President Asif Ali Zardari should pardon Bibi, who was sentenced on Nov. 8 to hang under controversial blasphemy laws for defaming Muhammad.
“The pardon would lead to anarchy in the country,” the head of the Sunni Ittehad Council, Sahibzada Fazal Kareem, said. “Our stand is very clear that this punishment cannot be waived.”
Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but the case exposes the deep fault lines in the conservative country on a law that rights activists say encourages Islamist extremism in a nation wracked by Taliban attacks.