Pope Asks Pakistan To Repeal Blasphemy Law (video)
Pope Benedict XVI Urges Pakistan To Repeal Blasphemy Law | Pakistanis Rally In Support Of Blasphemy Laws
The death of Salman Taseer ,the governor of Punjab who was gunned own by his own security guard, continues to reverberate in Pakistan and around the world.
Pope Benedict XVI has urged Pakistan to repeal its strict blasphemy law.
The Pope made his remarks in a new year address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican.
"I once more encourage the leaders of that country [Pakistan] to take the necessary steps to abrogate that law," he said.
"The tragic murder of the governor of Punjab shows the urgent need to make progress in this direction," he added.
Pope Benedict also condemned the recent spat of attacks against Pakistani Christians who make up roughly 2% of the population of Pakistan.
Salman Taseer was an outspoken critic of Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws. He visited a Asia Bibi - a christian women sentenced to death under the Blasphemy Law of Pakistan in November.
Taseer's bodyguard, Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadr, confessed to killing the man he was hired to protect - the reason, Salman Taseer's stance against the Blasphemy Law.
Meanwhile, a rally supporting the Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan was held in Karachi on Sunday.
The rally, called by the leaders of several hard-line Islamic groups, closed main roads and markets throughout the city. Demonstrators demanded Pakistan leave its blasphemy laws untouched. They make it a crime punishable by death to insult Islam, the Quran or the Prophet Mohammed.
Pakistan's Blasphemy laws as they exist today were first codified under dictator Zia ul-Huk during the 1980s.
The law stipulates that "derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life