The blasphemy law and Taseer’s murder have exposed the growing gap between hard-line religious conservatives and liberals in Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Tuesday it would bar Islamist organisations from staging rallies commemorating a killer whom many religious groups consider a hero for assassinating a prominent politician who had called for the reform of blasphemy laws.

Mumtaz Qadri was executed on Feb. 29 last year for murdering Punjab governor Salman Taseer, whom he served as a bodyguard before killing him in the capital Islamabad in 2011.

Taseer had enraged religious hardliners by calling for the reform of blasphemy laws that mandate the death penalty for insulting Islam.

The blasphemy law and Taseer’s murder have exposed the growing gap between hard-line religious conservatives and liberals in Pakistan.

Members of Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah, a coalition of Islamist groups which planned to stage a rally on Wednesday to honour Qadri, said two of its leaders had been placed under house arrest ahead of the one-year anniversary of Qadri’s death.