Bilawal Bhutto vows jihad vs fundamentalists

London: Bilawal Bhutto, son of the former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has blasted those who have come out in support of the killer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer and vowed to wage a "jihad" against fundamentalists.

Comparing the killing of Taseer to assassination of his mother, Bilawal said the Punjab governor had "too refused to be silenced".

Blasting those who have come out in support of the killer, Bhutto told mourners at the Pakistan High Commission here that people who voiced support for assassin were "real blasphemers", BBC reported.

Coming out vehemently against those praising the killer, Bilawal,22, said, "Because of you, the message of Islam is distorted in the world."

"Those who attack my religion, specially those who corrupt its peaceful message, you are what I call covert blasphemers and you will be defeated," he said.

"This will be our Jihad," young Bilawal, who has political aspirations and who has been named chairman of Pakistan`s ruling People`s Party, declared.

The Punjab governor was shot dead by his bodyguard outside a popular restaurant in Pakistan`s capital Islamabad on last Tuesday, in the most high profile assassination in the country since Benazir Bhutto was killed in December 2007.

All the religious parties an ulemas in Pakistan have praised the killer Mumtaz Qadri for silencing the outspoken governor.

Comparing the killings of Taseer and his mother, Bilawal said, "My mother embraced martyrdom while defending our faith. She was martyred in her jihad against those who had hijacked our religion."

"On January 4, martyr Salman Taseer was assassinated because he too refused to be silenced. He died defending the message of Islam," Bilawal said.

Bilawal assured Christians and other minorities in Pakistan that they would be defended.

"We will defend you. For those who wish to harm you for a crime you did not commit, they will have to go through me first, he said.

Bilawal`s appearance on Punjab governor`s memorial yesterday follows speculation that he may soon return to Pakistan as the leader of the PPP.

Meanwhile, the late governor`s daughter Sara told CNN that mainstream politicians in Pakistan had shied away from condemning her father`s murder.

Her father`s assassination was "a message to all liberal and progressive people in Pakistan to keep quiet, and scare and intimidate them," Sara Taseer said.

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