Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed claimed the followers of former governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer’s murderer Mumtaz Qadri will support Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the AML in upcoming election. Talking to a private news channel, Sheikh Rasheed said the ‘political power’ of Qadri’s supporters should not be underestimated. The AML chief further said they will be voting for the PTI because of AML’s alliance with Imran Khan. A number of political leaders including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son in law Captain (retd) Safdar have publicly supported Mumtaz Qadri, who was executed in 2016 for killing former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer on allegations of ‘blasphemy’. Qadri’s funeral drew huge crowds and protests were staged by religious groups following his execution. Sheikh Rasheed’s statement sparked outrage on social media and a number of users took to twitter to condemn the AML leader’s bigotry. Sarah Jawad? (Activist) “Shame on you sheikh rasheed for supporting a killer just to get a few votes. This is your reality and future of parasite politics. #PTI” Nihari (twitter user) “Sheeda wanted to say Mumtaz Qadri Shaheed but managed to control his words.” LesPaul? (Activist) “Mumtaz Qadri aik siasi quwat hay.” – Sheikh Rasheed. Sheikh sahib’s entertainment value was hitherto his saviour. Not anymore. Despicable.” Alii (Market researcher) “Mumtaz Qadri siyasi quuwat hain – Sheikh Rasheed. PTI Walon Khuda ke liye distance yourself from people like Sheikh Rasheed.” Mahwash Ajaz (Writer) “If Mumtaz Qadri is a “political force” then no one can help Pakistan.” Tariq Khan? (Twitter user) “In Nadeem Malik program, Sheikh Rasheed said he has support of Mumtaz Qadri’s followers. Just imagine future of Pakistan if PTI and SR come to power.” CeciN’estPasUne (Teacher) “Sheeda Talli very proudly proclaiming that followers of “Mumtaz Qadri saheb” will vote for him and PTI. #ShaavaChacha” Mahwash Ajaz (Writer) “If Mumtaz Qadri is a “political force” then no one can help Pakistan.” It’s a sorry state of affairs when politicians try to get votes in the name of murderers. Sheikh Rasheed’s support of a killer who was hanged by the state is equivalent to challenging the writ of the government. One wonders what the educated, liberal supporters of PTI have to say about their party’s ally supporting a cold-blooded murderer. Imran Khan should know that his alliance with Rasheed contradicts everything PTI claims to stand for. ‘If politicians like Sheikh Rasheed are the face of ‘Naya Pakistan’ that the PTI promises, we are better off with the current one’, posted an angry social media activist on her Facebook page. Published in Daily Times, July 2nd , 2017.