Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has said that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are not a problem but the real problem lies with the militant groups operating inside the country.

In an interview with Mehdi Hasan of Al Jazeera, when asked if he supported a proposal to amend the blasphemy law, which carries the death penalty for offenders, Khan avoided a clear response. Instead, he said: “Whatever you do with the laws, people will be killed.”

“Extremism is not going to be fought by laws; extremism has to be fought first by disbanding those groups that are perpetuating this extremism,” he further added.

When the host asked if the PTI chief feared for his life for speaking on the matter of blasphemy, he hesitantly said: “It is true you have to tread a very thin line. Anything perceived to be…  sacrilegious, yes your life is in danger… It is a very difficult subject living in Pakistan.”

Explaining his recent statement in which he said that people will distribute sweets if army took over in Pakistan, Imran Khan said: “I did not struggle for martial law in Pakistan, it was all to strengthen the democracy in this country,” arguing that he had not urged the Pakistani military to topple Nawaz Sharif’s government.

“We want a genuine democracy, not a hoax system,” he went on to say, adding that “democracy means a system where the Prime Minister is accountable to the people.”

On the occasion, he also termed the Taliban as terrorists, saying: “Anyone who kills innocent people is terrorists,” while responding to a query about his soft reaction to the terrorist activities of Taliban groups in Pakistan.