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Imran Khan warned protesters against clashing with State

01 November, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday fully backed the Supreme Court’s decision in the Asia Bibi case, warning protesters against clashing with the State.

“I’m here only because a Supreme Court verdict was announced today. The way a small section reacted to it and the language they used … I am forced to address you,” the prime minister said hours after a three-judge bench acquitted and ordered the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was earlier sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. “The decision of the judges is according to the constitution and Pakistan’s constitution is in line with the teachings of Islam,” he said.

“Some elements are inciting you to violence for their own political gains, you should not get trapped by them for the sake of the country, they are doing no service to Islam,” he said in the televised broadcast. He noted that because of Pakistan’s efforts, the European Court of Human Rights was forced to agree that disrespect of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was unlawful. “Our faith is incomplete if we don’t love Prophet [Peace Be Upon Him],” he said.

Referring to the protesters who disrupted routine life across the country, he said, “If the Supreme Court does not issue a verdict according to their wishes, will they come out on the roads? The people are to bear the brunt of this. The labourers who are reliant on daily wages… how will they survive?” He urged the nation not to allow themselves to be provoked by the agitators. “This is not a service being done for Islam. This is enmity taking place against the country,” he observed.

The prime minister appealed to the nation not to listen to the elements spreading negativity, and warned the agitators not to clash with the State or damage the country. He warned of exercising the State’s powers in case of incitement to violence. “The State will then exercise its power if you decide to incite any kind of violence at a time when the whole country is trying to rise together,” he said. “I appeal to you: don’t harm this country in order to increase your vote bank. If you continue doing this… let me make it clear to you… the state will fulfill its duty and protect people’s properties and lives. We will not allow any vandalism [or] blockage of traffic,” he said. “I appeal to you: do not take the State to a point where it has no option but to take action,” he concluded.

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