Thousands Rally in Pakistan Over Blasphemy Law–By Muhammad Mansoor| AFP

KARACHI (AFP) – More than 50,000 people rallied in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi on Sunday, police said, against the controversial reform of a blasphemy law that was behind the killing of a senior politician.

Religious groups blocked a main thoroughfare in Karachi’s teeming metropolis holding banners in support of the police commando who shot dead Punjab governor Salman Taseer on Tuesday over his views favouring an amendment of the law.

Taseer had called for reform of the blasphemy law that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death. But his outspoken liberal stance offended the country’s increasingly powerful conservative religious base.

Mumtaz Qadri is not a murderer, he is a hero,” said one banner in the national Urdu language in support of the man who carried out Pakistan’s most high-profile political killing in three years.

“We salute the courage of Qadri,” said another.

Religious students filled the street wearing scarves and turbans inscribed with “Allah-o-Akbar” and bellowing slogans in favour of holy war.

Senior police official Mohammad Ashfaq put the overall number of protesters at more than 50,000. Another senior police official confirmed the number and said some 3,000 police officers were guarding the event, which forced the closure of businesses and roads in the area and ended after dusk without violence.

Excerpt, read entire article: Thousands Rally Over Blasphemy Law in Pakistan –By Muhammad Mansoor | AFP

Thousands Rally in Pakistan Over Blasphemy Law| Al Jazeera English (Video)

Related: Pakistan Profile: Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab (Video)

Salman Taseer: An Act of True Moral Heroism – By Chris Hayes | The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC Video)

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