Lahore, Jan 6: The police in Lahore arrested as many as 110 imams on Thursday while they were celebrating the murder of Salman Taseer, Governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Six years ago Governor Taseer was 'punished' by the fanatics for defending a Christian lady named Asia Bibi. They physically eliminated Salman Taseer for this 'grave' sin.
The arrest of these clerics marked the sixth anniversary of the ‘killing’ of the Governor of Punjab for defending a Christian lady who had spoken against the law of blasphemy.
Christians in Pakistan remain another persecuted minority community after the Hindus. Some Christians believe: “the Government of Pakistan loudly expressed its intention of implementing the National Action Plan and reiterated the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law; on the other, religious extremists take to the streets and block the capital of Punjab province, violating fundamental human rights.” According to the activist, “all this is a constant threat to our country.”
The imams were detained and arrested on Main Boulevard Gulberg, where they were staging a rally to celebrate the death of the murdered governor. Their goal was to block the city and prevent the memorial service.
Defying the threats by radicals, activists and ordinary Pakistanis gathered a few tens of kilometres away, in the Lalik Chowk area. Syeda Deep, the organiser of the vigil, said that the participants waved placards, chanted slogans and lit candles against terrorism and religious fundamentalism.
“They came here,” she said, “despite the death threats and reiterated that they would not be terrified by fear of the neo-fascist mullahs.”
“In Lahore, religious intolerance has reached the highest levels,” said Samson Salamat, the Christian chairman of the Rawadari Tehreek, a movement for tolerance. “Islamists tried to block the memorial. This is ridiculous considering that Mumtaz Qadri, the Salman Taseer’s self-confessed murderer, was found guilty by the law and hanged.”
“What the imams tried to do is a serious violation of freedom and fundamental rights,” Salamat added. “What is even more serious is that all this has happened even though the National Action Plan clearly calls on the government and institutions to stop such activities.”
Salamat believes that Pakistan “will not be a peaceful country until the State itself does not take decisive action against militant groups that commit 'hate crimes' and spread intolerance in society.”