Punjab police says no to blasphemy case against Sherry

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M Zulqernain

Lahore, Feb 15 (PTI) Police in Pakistan''s centralPunjab province today refused to register a case under thecontroversial blasphemy law against former minister SherryRehman, saying the matter does not fall within theirjurisdiction.

The additional and sessions judge of Multan district,Mehr Nasir Hussain, had last week directed local police chiefDilawar Abbas to examine the legal status of an applicationseeking the registration of a blasphemy case against Rehman.

The application was filed by a man named Fahim AkhtarGul, who contended that Rehman had committed blasphemy byspeaking against the blasphemy law in a television talk show.

The application was subsequently sent to the legalwing of police.

"We have examined the application in which thepetitioner has complained that Rehman committed blasphemy byspeaking against the blasphemy law in a talk show a couple ofmonths ago.

"We cannot take any legal view of it as the matterdoes not fall in our jurisdiction. Therefore, we have droppedit," Inspector Zaheeruddin Babar of the legal branch in Multantold PTI.

Babar said police had informed the court about itsstance.

Rehman has been facing death threats from extremistssince she called for reforms in the controversial blasphemylaw to remove the mandatory death sentence.

She was recently forced to withdraw a private bill shehad submitted in parliament to amend the law due to pressurefrom the top leadership of the PPP.

Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, another senior PPPleader, was gunned down last month by a police guard who wasangered by the politician''s opposition to the blasphemy law.

Liberals and civil society groups have called forreforms in the blasphemy law, saying it is often used topersecute religious minorities and to settle personal andpolitical scores.

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