Javed Hashmi, the defected leader of PTI, is once again being targeted for his courageous views – this time by the Tehreek Tahafuz-e Namoos-e Risalat, a religious hardliner group known for opposing all sorts of reforms in the blasphemy laws. The reason for targeting Hashmi is his speech in the National Assembly delivered exactly one year ago in which he criticized the blasphemy laws for being “wrong” and “contrary to Islam”. In the same speech, Hashmi also announced that back in the 80s he had voted against the blasphemy laws by going against his party policy.
For the last couple of days, pamphlets are being distributed and mounted on walls in various areas of Multan. The areas that the pamphlet campaign is particularly focusing on come under NA-149, the constituency from which Javed Hashmi is going to contest by-elections. Mr. Hashmi had earlier resigned from the same National Assembly seat following his differences with the other leadership of PTI.
The pamphlets are accusing Javed Hashmi of disrespecting Holy Prophet (PBUH) by opposing blasphemy laws. A major portion of the text in the pamphlet quotes excerpt of Javed Hashmi’s speech before the National Assembly. It then commands faithful Muslims to prove their love for the Prophet (PBUH) by boycotting Hashmi because he “voted” against the protection of Prophet (PBUH)’s respect. The aforementioned speech by Javed Hashmi was delivered in the aftermath of a terrible suicide blast on a church in Peshawar that claimed the lives of 81 Christians. The pamphlet also names Shireen Mizari for speaking against the law that protects Prophet (PBUH)’s honor.
After his split from the PTI, Hashmi has to confront a good deal of opposition from Multan. According to sources, the pamphlets are being widely used for propaganda by the opponents of Javed Hashmi. The NA-149 includes localities like New Multan, parts of Multan Cantonment, and mid-town areas. Followers of Hashmi realize the potential danger of such a campaign. Speaking to The Laaltain, they raised their serious concerns quoting the examples of late Governor Salman Taseer & Shahbaz Bhatti – both were assassinated for their efforts to reform blasphemy law. Such a controversy can also adversely affect Hashmi’s campaign for the by-elections.