Pakistan on "shutter down strike" against blasphemy law amendment bid

Karachi, Dec 31 (ANI): A "shutter down strike" was observed in several parts of Pakistan on Friday on the call of conservative religious groups against any move to amend the blasphemy law, which human rights campaigners say encourages Islamist extremism.

In Karachi, commuters were facing difficulties, as no public transport was available owing to the strike, the Dawn reports.

Protestors demonstrating on the Mauripur road in Karachi blocked the intersection and suspended traffic. According to a report, protestors carrying sticks and chanting anti-government slogans blocked traffic by setting tyres on fire in Karachi's Shirin Jinnah Colony.

The strike was also observed in Lahore, Gujranwala, Peshawar, Quetta, Kashmore, Hazara division and Kandhkot, with protest rallies and demonstrations carried out against any proposed amendments to the blasphemy law.

The strike went ahead despite Religious Affairs Minister Khurshid Ahmed Shah's statement in the National Assembly earlier this week that the government had no intention to amend the controversial law.

He had said the "government has no intention to repeal the anti-blasphemy law and to disown a private bill of a PPP member proposing changes in the Zia-era law to abolish a mandatory death sentence against a convict provided by it and to guard against miscarriage of justice."

"The government regards safeguarding 'namoos-i-risalat' as its responsibility and believes in it", Shah had added. (ANI)

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