London, Jan 11 (JNN): Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of Pakistan's ruling party and son of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, slammed the extremists in Pakistan for killing Punjab province Governor Salman Taseer.

Lashing out at them, he further said, “I will not be silenced by fear. Those who dare attack my religion… you will be defeated. This shall be our jehad… If they pray and hit and kill Salman Taseer then they are not following Islam. Jihad is not justified by violence.”

“You the killers are the real blasphemers. Because of you Islam is distorted in the eyes of the world… You are not serving Islam at any stretch. You committed crime against Islam…,” he said further.

He also pledged to defend the country's minorities—increasingly under blockade from powerful religious lobbies and often targets of Islamist violence.

"To the Christian and other minority communities in Pakistan, we will defend you," he said at a memorial ceremony in London for Taseer.

"Those who wish to harm you for a crime you did not commit will have to go through me first."
The man who confessed to his killing has been celebrated as a hero and was showered by rose petals by some in Pakistan.

Up to 50,000 people joined a rally organised by religious parties in the city of Karachi on Sunday to oppose any changes in the blasphemy laws.

Bhutto, who is studying in England, said "the dark forces of violent extremism, intolerance and bigotry are intent on devouring our country and our faith" and Taseer's killing was meant to cow its opponents into remaining silent and frightened.

He said he would uphold the legacy of his mother and his grandfather, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged in 1979.

He also condemned clerics who warned against mourning Taseer's death, saying of those who threatened Muslims who prayed or grieved for him: "You too shall be defeated."

"The assassination of Shaheed Salman Taseer is not about liberals versus conservatives or moderate versus radical Islam. It is about right and wrong," Bhutto said.