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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Pakistani Islamist Parties Rally Against Chief Justice On Blasphemous Remarks

Karachi, Pakistan:

Hundreds of supporters from Pakistani Islamist parties on Friday rallied to protest against what they say were blasphemous remarks by the country's chief justice.

The protest call, by various religious and political groups led by hardline Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) whose rallying cry is "death to blasphemers", said that remarks by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa in a case against a member of the minority Ahmadi community were blasphemous.

The court had granted bail to an Ahmadi community member earlier this week, ruling that blasphemy charges against him did not stand. The man, accused of blasphemy for distributing Islamic literature, had been in jail for 13 months.

"We (will) monitor the sermons and protests outside mosques," said police official Abrar Hussain in the southern city of Karachi, warning the protesters to remain peaceful.

Hundreds of the protesters took to streets in the northwestern city of Peshawar, chanting slogans against the chief justice, said police official Mubarak Khan.

The top court on Thursday issued a statement after the Islamist parties and some political groups launched a campaign accusing the chief justice of deviating in his ruling from the constitutional definition of a Muslim, which excludes Ahmadis.

"This impression is absolutely wrong," the court statement said, deploring what it called a "vicious campaign" against Isa.

The campaign against Isa was also joined by some supporters and aides of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who think a ruling by the chief justice stripping Khan's party of its symbol on ballots cost them votes in an election on Feb. 8.

Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party's information secretary Rauf Hasan did not respond to a request for a comment.

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