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By Our Correspondent
TRAFFIC on and around The Mall came to an absolute halt and remained choked for over three hours on Monday evening after Tahaffuz Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz (TNRM) took out a large rally against the moves to amend blasphemy laws of Holy Prophet (SAW), particularly the demand by Pope Benedict to repeal the legislation, besides expressing solidarity with Mumtaz Qadri, the Elite Police guard who gunned down former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.
The protestors riding trucks, wagons and other vehicles marched from Data Darbar to Governor’s House in over two hours while the police blocked the roads leading to The Mall, which caused a massive traffic mess. Long queues of vehicles were lined up in every direction during the closing hours in the evening causing serious problems to commuters in a rush to reach home.
Addressing the slogan chanting and banners waving protestors, TNRM leaders demanded an immediate end to the moves for amending blasphemy laws by dissolving the parliamentary committee headed by Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti and withdrawal of the bill tabled by Sherry Rehman. They also demanded exoneration of Mumtaz Qadri and bringing an end to vulgarity on media.
The TNRM leaders also announced to take out another rally in support of Mumtaz Qadri on January 19 (tomorrow), which would march from Lahore to Rawalpindi up to the house of Mumtaz Qadri for expressing solidarity with him.
TNRM president Allama Raza-e-Mustafa said rulers must display with their actions that they cared for the sentiments and emotions of 98 per cent Muslim majority in Pakistan and shun the anti-people policies of trampling their religious feelings and subjecting them to price hike and inflation.
Raghib Naeemi said silence of so-called liberals over Pope Benedict’s absurd demand had forced Pakistanis to come out on streets. Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali said the world must see that 98 per cent Muslims backed Mumtaz Qadri and consider them as their hero.
Naeem Noori warned the rulers against plundering public wealth and enforcing secularism in place of Islam, saying that Islam loving people would throw them out of power. Mohammad Ali Naqshbandi said Muslims in Pakistan would never allow the western conspiracy against blasphemy laws succeed in the country and guard the Islamic laws with their lives.
Others who addressed the protestors included Mohammad Ali Naqshbandi, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Naeem Javed Noori, Shaukat Qadri, Nawaz Bashir Jalali, Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi, Ajmal Shah Gilani, Haseeb Qadri, Mufti Masoodur Rehman, Mujahdi Abdul Rasool, Mohammad Khan Leghari and others.