Clerics receive threats for conducting Taseer's funeral prayers
Three Pakistani clerics who conducted the funeral and memorial prayers for slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer have received death threats, police said today.world Updated: Jan 13, 2011 14:09 IST
Three Pakistani clerics who conducted the funeral and memorial prayers for slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer have received death threats, police said on Thursday.
Maulana Afzal Chishti, the head of the ulema or clerics' wing of the ruling PPP, had led the funeral prayer for Taseer along with Qari Muhammad Younus.
The qul or memorial ceremony was led by Qari Akhtar Qureshi.
"We have provided police guards to two clerics - Younus and Qureshi - after they received death threats probably from those who consider Taseer a blasphemer," a senior police officer, who did not want to be named, told PTI.
The third cleric, Chishti, had gone into hiding because he feared for the lives of his family members, the police officer said.
Taseer was gunned down in Islamabad on January 4 by a police guard who said he was angered by the Governor's criticism of the controversial blasphemy law.
After a group of over 500 clerics and scholars of the Barelvi school of thought asked Muslims not to lead or offer the funeral prayer for Taseer, top clerics in Lahore had refused to lead the namaz-e-janaza.
"Younis and Qureshi have publicly expressed regret for participating in the prayers and re-embraced Islam after admitting their mistake due to pressure from hardliners, but we cannot withdraw the security provided to them," the police officer said.
The clerics of the historical Badshahi Mosque, the Data Darbar shrine and the mosque at the Governor's House had refused to lead the funeral prayer for Taseer.
Several groups of clerics had announced that anyone who led the funeral prayer of a "blasphemer" would be considered an infidel.