Gilani forces Sherry Rehman to withdraw Pak blasphemy law amendment bill

Thursday, February 3, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan parliamentarian Sherry Rehman will withdraw the bill seeking amendments to the country’s blasphemy law as per the party’s directions, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said.

In November 2010, Rehman had submitted a private member bill in the National Assembly Secretariat seeking amendments to soften Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law after a Pakistani Christian woman accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad was sentenced to death.

Talking to a parliamentary delegation in Islamabad, Gilani said Rehman decided to withdraw the bill in accordance with the party policy, The Nation reports.

Gilani also made it clear that no committee had been constituted to amend the blasphemy law, and urged Pakistan’s religious parties to come forward with a policy to restrain the misuse of the law.

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party MNA Sherry Rehman said she was not consulted on the withdrawal of the bill, but since the Prime Minister had disbanded the committee announced by the party to amend these law, so as a PPP MNA, she had to abide by the party’s decision.

“There was never any question of withdrawing the bill as the speaker had never admitted it on the agenda. Had it appeared on the agenda, perhaps some of our colleagues would have understood that it was not demanding repeal of the law, but protecting our great Prophet’s (PBUH) name against injustices done via procedures introduced by Ziaul Haq,” she maintained.

Clarifying her point of view, Rehman said she had submitted that “innocent people be given a chance to prove their innocence like in all laws, and that cases be tried at the higher courts, that penalties be given according to the Quran, and that no one who makes false charges in the name of a Prophet (PBUH), who swore always to defend the innocent and the vulnerable, go unpunished.” (ANI)

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