No plans to amend blasphemy law: Gilani

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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Jan 17 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister YousufRaza Gilani today said his government will not amend theblasphemy law, which has been at the centre of a ragingcontroversy since the assassination of Governor Salmaan Taseerover his opposition to the statute.

"Neither have we thought of it nor are we going to doit," Gilani said while addressing a gathering afterinaugurating the campuses of two universities at Dera GhaziKhan.

Those who were saying a committee had been formed bythe government to amend the blasphemy law were wrong, he said.

"No such committee was formed. However, a committeewas formed by the Pakistan People''s Party to discuss proposedlegislations moved by lawmakers and this committee hadrejected the amendment of the blasphemy law," he said.

Gilani said: "I cannot think of amendment in theblasphemy law."

However, he said the government believes that no lawshould be misused.

Punjab Governor Taseer, a leader of the ruling PPP anda confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari, was gunned inIslamabad on January 4 by a police guard who said he wasangered by the politician''s criticism of the blasphemy law.

Pakistani liberals, rights activists and minoritycommunity leaders have demanded the repeal or amendment of thelaw in the wake of the murder.

However, religious hardliners and extremist groupslike the Jamaat-ud-Dawah have rallied in support of the lawand Taseer''s assassin and warned the government not to changethe law.

Gilani said persons "airing rumours about an amendmentin the blasphemy law were merely wasting their time" andshould instead come together to strengthen institutions andthe rule of law and to help overcome challenges confrontingPakistan, including unemployment, terrorism, extremism,sectarianism.

The PPP-led government has buried the "politics ofvengeance" and laid the foundation for "politics ofreconciliation", he said.

"However, those who think the politics ofreconciliation is some sort of weakness are wrong," he said.

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