26 October, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 09/22/2009
PAKISTAN
Pakistani President comes out against the misuse of the blasphemy law
by Fareed Khan
In London President Zardari says his government will make sure that the law is not misused against religious minorities and dissenters. Some Islamic circles organise protests against possible changes to the law, even if many media are in favour.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said that his government would ensure that the blasphemy law is not misused by anyone. He made the important statement last Saturday, after a series of very serious episodes of religious intolerance and persecution and after a number of prominent political leaders asked for changes to the law. Eventually, these were met with protests by Islamic extremists.

Mr Zardari discussed the issue in London, where he met Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and acknowledged that extremists were misusing the law.

The law punishes any offense against religion and anyone trying to convert others. Muslim extremists, often with the complicity of police and local authorities, have used it to persecute and jail non-Muslims, especially Christians, and moderate Muslims.

At least 33 people accused of proselytising have been massacred by enraged mobs or killed by individual fanatics.

The problem re-emerged recently when a young Christian man was found dead on 15 September in Sailkot Prison where he was held on blasphemy charges.

Last Friday during a visit to Washington, Pakistan’s Minority Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, said that the Pakistani government would change the law that extremists “are using [. . .] to victimise [religious] minorities as well as Muslims of Pakistan. [. . .] The stand of the Pakistani government is to review, revisit and amend blasphemy law so it will not remain a tool in the hands of extremists.”

Shahbaz Bhatti was in Washington at the invitation of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which gave him an award for championing the rights of minorities in Pakistan.

Last Saturday the Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer said that the law must be repealed to protect minorities, especially Christians, against violence and persecution, a position he had asserted already two days earlier.

Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), told AsiaNews that the “statement from the governor of Punjab’ was “important  and welcome”, adding that he hoped the central government would take the same view.

Various Islamic-based opposition parties slammed Salman Taseer’s statement, demanding his resignation and accusing him of trying to use a few violent anti-minority incidents for his own purpose. They also announced that they would take to the streets to oppose any changes to the law.

Taseer responded on Saturday to his critics, asking what clerics and politicians did to prevent Christians from being burnt alive in the name of this law.

A wind of change appears to blowing across the country and even a sizable section of the press has come out against the law.

In an editorial article, the Daily Times wrote on 17 September that “Christians killed in the name of Islam never get justice. The only way an accused can be saved is to bundle him out of the country after releasing him on bail.”

Another editorial that appeared on 18 September in the Dawn said that the “Punjab government needs to take urgent steps to protect minorities in the province for the situation there is deteriorating. The centre, meanwhile, should start working towards the repeal of the blasphemy laws. For too long they have been used to settle personal scores, grab land—and to kill. These draconian laws must be struck off the books.”


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
01/04/2011 PAKISTAN
Punjab governor assassinated, he had called for Asia Bibi’s pardon
by Jibran Khan
01/31/2011 PAKISTAN
Some 40,000 in Lahore streets to defend blasphemy law, shouting slogans against the Pope
by Jibran Khan
10/14/2011 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Islamic extremists march in support of assassin Mumtaz Qadri
by Jibran Khan
10/03/2011 PAKISTAN
Muslims, extremists and others, oppose death penalty for “hero” Mumtaz Qadri
by Jibran Khan
01/05/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians remember Salman Taseer as extremists celebrate his assasin
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.