Stepping up its campaign against the opposition Islamic alliance, a key ally of the ruling coalition in Pakistan took out a huge rally in protest against the "blasphemy" committed by hardline leaders who tore down copies of a bill containing references to Quran in Parliament.
While the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) organised the rally in the southern city of Karachi on Thursday, its London-based leader Altaf Hussain called for registration of cases against the leaders of Mutthahida Majlis-e Amal (MMA) for committing sacrilege and for "derogatory stance towards Pakistan."
Hussain also demanded the government to revoke membership of these MMA's members from the National Assembly.
Addressing a public gathering via telephone from London, Hussain said by tearing down the copies of the bill to amend the controversial Hudood Ordinance, which contained references to Allah and Quran, the MMA legislators committed a blasphemous act that could not be tolerated.
"Islam teaches us not to utter sacrilegious words against other religions, therefore we will never tolerate committing of a blasphemous act against our own religion of Islam by the so-called Muslims," he was quoted as saying by state-run APP news agency.
MMA opposed the bill called the Protection of Women Bill aimed at amending the Hudood Ordinance brought in by former military rulers Zia ul Haq in the name of introducing Islamic law and punishment system in Pakistan.
The Hudood Ordinance also puts the onus on the rape victim of proving the crime by presenting four male witnesses.
Earlier, a number of rallies taken out from different parts of Karachi culminated into a big gathering at the Tibet Centre.
MQM activists tied black ribbons on their arms to protest against the act committed by MMA's leaders. Several Islamic clerics also took part in the rally.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's government braced up to stave off the no-confidence motion submitted by MMA and the moderate Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD).
The motion is set to come for voting on August 29 in the National Assembly.
Even though the opposition does not have the requisite majority in the 342-member house, its leaders wanted to gain maximum mileage to their allegation of corruption and misdeeds against the government.
Aziz, who for the first time faced serious allegations of corruption in his two year tenure, said he would personally answer the charges levelled by opposition parties.