More than 50,000 Muslims rallied in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi on Sunday, 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 Tuesday over his views favouring an amendment of the law, AFP reports.
Taseer had called for reform of the blasphemy law that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death. But his outspoken liberal stance offended the country’s increasingly powerful conservative religious base.
“Mumtaz Qadri is not a murderer, he is a hero,” said one banner in the national Urdu language in support of the man who carried out Pakistan’s most high-profile political killing in three years. “We salute the courage of Qadri,” said another.
Religious students filled the street wearing scarves and turbans inscribed with “Allah-o-Akbar” and bellowing slogans in favour of holy war.