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Sherry Rehman's nomination as envoy to US challenged in court

November 23, 2011 21:25 IST

A businessman on Wednesday filed a petition in a Pakistani court challenging the appointment of Sherry Rehman as the country's new envoy to the United States, saying she could not hold the post as she had allegedly committed blasphemy.

Fahim Akhtar Gill claimed in his application filed in the Multan bench of the Lahore high court that Rehman, a former federal information minister, was guilty of allegedly committing blasphemy on a television programme.

The court is expected to take up the petition on Thursday. Gill claimed Rehman did not deserve the appointment as she had violated the Constitution and was accused of alleged blasphemy.

Thousands of Pakistanis had reservations over her appointment, he further claimed.

"It is against the honour and pride of the federation and the people of Pakistan as Pakistan is a Muslim country," Gill was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

He claimed he had obtained "fatwas" from Islamic scholars of four sects before filing the petition. In February, an additional district and sessions court in Multan had ordered police to register a case against Rehman under the harsh blasphemy law after Gill filed a similar petition.

At that time, Gill had contended that Rehman had committed blasphemy by speaking against the blasphemy law on a TV show. However, police refused to register the case, saying the matter did not fall within their jurisdiction as the TV show had been aired from Islamabad.

In a separate development, the Sunni Tehreek expressed concern at the appointment of Rehman as Ambassador to the US.

Sunni Tehreek leader Shahid Ghauri said Rehman was already following the "policies of the US and the Jewish lobby as she tried to abolish the blasphemy law."

"We are not satisfied with Sherry Rehman's appointment because she is not fair with Islam or the country," he claimed. In late 2010, Rehman had received death threats after she called for amendments to the blasphemy law.

She was rarely seen in public after Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and federal minister Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated this year for opposing the blasphemy law.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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