Peace Mumbai, Indian Muslim intellectuals condemn Taseer's killing

Lahore, Jan 9 (ANI): 'Peace Mumbai' activists and Indian Muslim intellectuals have strongly condemned the brutal assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and expressed their apprehensions over growing religious intolerance in Pakistan.

Taseer was murdered for taking a principled stand on the controversial blasphemy law...Rising religious extremism has to be curbed and the Pakistan government must act strongly against forces promoting hatred and violence," the Daily Times quoted Peace Mumbai, as saying in a press release.

The organisation's activists said Taseer was in favour of an amendment to Pakistan's controversial Blasphemy Law, which was "wielded primarily against minorities and was often used to settle personal scores. Many a time, local people take the law into their own hands and lynch individuals accused of blasphemous acts."

"It is a matter of concern that people are coming out in open support of the governor's killer on various social networking websites and expressing joy at this ghastly murder," the organisation said.

The government must ensure safety to liberal politician Sherry Rehman for taking a courageous stand and introducing an amendment to the law in the National Assembly, it added.

Indian Muslim intellectuals, scientists, artists, journalists, social activists, engineers, businessmen, lawyers and students issued a joint statement, saying: "We are shocked by the killing of Taseer by a member of his bodyguard force. He had dared to support Aasia Bibi sentenced to death for having committed blasphemy according to the infamous blasphemy law of Pakistan."

They expressed concern over the trend of increasing religious intolerance in Pakistan, which, they said, if not fought with resolve and courage, might lead to a deadly silence in the country for a long time to come.

"We are concerned for the safety of democratic and progressive voices and are equally worried for the well being of the common people of Pakistan and express our solidarity with them," the statement said.

The joint statement was signed by famous Indian personalities, including actress Sharmila Tagore, Prof Farida Khan of University of Wisconsin, US, HT Bureau Chief for Kanpur Haider Naqvi, Prof Zoya Hasan of Jawaharlal Nehru University and actor Farrukh Shaikh. (ANI)

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