LAHORE - Leaders of religious parties at an “Ulema Convention” hosted by JUI-S have rejected women protection bill and reiterated their stance to launch a joint movement against the government’s ‘un-Islamic moves’.

But at a separate gathering of religious scholars which was organised by Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) here yesterday, the clerics agreed to sit with the government to redress reservations in the Punjab Protection of Women against violence Act, passed by Punjab Assembly a couple of days earlier.

The JUI-S hosted sitting was attended by leaders of leading religious parties. During the meeting, they condemned the ‘un-Islamic gestures’ of the government and also announced to challenge the women protection act in the Supreme Court.

JUI-S head Mualana Samiul Haq, who is known as the father of Taliban, presided over the session. Among others present on the occasion included Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general Liaqat Baloch, Muslim Conference head Sardar Attique, JUP leader Qari Zawar Bahadur, Ehle Sunnatwal Jamaat leader Maulana Ahmad Ludhyanvi and other attended.

They termed Mumtaz Qadri’s execution as “extra-judicial killing”, and also demanded of the hanging of Asia Bibi, an alleged accused of blasphemy. They said the women protection act was an attack on the family system, and against the constitution of Pakistan.

But on the other side, religious scholars of different schools of thought at PUC meeting stated that violence against women was strictly prohibited in Islam and 'Women Protection Bill' does not violate Sharia.

“Reservations on the Act will be addressed amicably as the Punjab government agreed to constitute a committee on the issue,” said the speakers. They also emphasised that unity was inevitable to annihilate challenges of terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence from Muslim world.

Addressing the meeting, PUC chairman Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi said that people of Pakistan were guardians of 'blasphemy laws'. He categorically stated that 'blasphemy laws' can neither be annulled nor amended and any bid to transform Pakistan into a liberal country will be foiled. “Being Pakistani, we should keep check on conspiracies to turn Pakistan into a liberal state," Ashrafi further stressed.