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Christmas Message Brings Death Threats for Pakistani Activist


FILE - Students chant slogans while holding banners and posters showing Mumtaz Qadri, the alleged killer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, during a rally to protest against any attempts to modify blasphemy laws, in Karachi, Pakistan, Jan. 20, 2011. Pakistani authorities on Feb. 29, 2016, hanged Qadri, a former police bodyguard.

Police in Pakistan are investigating an activist for alleged “hate speech” after he wished Christians in the Muslim nation happy holidays and called for prayers for those charged under blasphemy laws.

On Christmas Day, Shaan Taseer posted a video on his Facebook page wishing a Merry Christmas and asking for prayers for those victimized by what he called “inhumane” blasphemy laws.

'Very credible death threats'

Taseer's father, Punjab governor Salman Taseer, was gunned down in 2011 by his bodyguard for championing the case of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death under the blasphemy laws, which he said needed to be reformed.

Bibi, a 50-year-old mother of five, has been in prison since June 2009 after being convicted of blasphemy during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water.

Shaan Taseer, a Muslim, said on Monday that he had received “very credible death threats” from supporters of the hard-line Muslim philosophy that inspired his father's killer, bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri.

Mass protests in works?

"They are sending me Mumtaz Qadri's photos with messages that there are several Mumtaz Qadris waiting for me," he said.

Hardliners have called for mass protests if, by Tuesday, police do not charge Taseer with blasphemy against Islam — a crime punishable by death.

A spokesman for the hard-line Islamist movement Sunni Tehreek said the group was not calling for Taseer's murder, only his prosecution and eventual execution.

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