21 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


» 05/09/2007
PAKISTAN
New apostasy bill to impose death on anyone who leaves Islam
by Qaiser Felix
Pakistan’s government sends draft bill tabled by six-party Islamic alliance to standing committee for review. Under the bill’s terms, apostates would be sentenced to death or life in prison. Testimony by two adults is the only independent evidence needed to determine or demonstrate apostasy. Lahore archbishop is praying the bill is never adopted.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – A draft bill adopted in first reading by Pakistan’s National Assembly is now before a standing committee. Tabled by a six-party politico-religious alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal or MMA, the Apostasy Act 2006 which the government sent to the committee would impose the death penalty on Muslim men and life in prison on Muslim women in case they leave Islam. It would also force them to forfeit their property and lose legal custody of children.

During the same session, lawmakers rejected another draft bill moved by minority MNA Bhandara which sought to amend the existing blasphemy law.

“This situation is unfortunate and sad. We demand freedom of conscious, religion and expression in Pakistan, and this bill is contrary to the principle of freedom of choice”, said Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha, head of National Commission for Justice and Peace and chairman of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

“Because international human rights charters give every individual the right to change his or her religion according to his or her conscience, we hope and pray that this bill will not be passed,” Mgr Saldanha said.

Should the bill become law anyone who leaves Islam for another religion can be sentenced to death (if male) or life in prison ‘until repentance occurs’ (if female).

Section 4 of the bill says that the offender’s own confession in court or the testimony by at least two adults is sufficient grounds for conviction in apostasy cases. Testimony by non Muslims is not however admissible in certain Pakistani courts.

Section 5 stipulates that the ‘offender’ must be granted 3 to 30 days to recant the conversion and return to Islam. But even in cases where the person returns to Islam judges can impose two-year sentences as punishment for the original ‘crime’. The accused can convert and reconvert up to three times before the death sentence becomes automatic.

Under Section 8 apostates forfeit all their properties which are awarded only to their Muslim relatives. Section 9 says that they also lose custody to any minor in their care and guardianship, including their biological children.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
12/03/2010 PAKISTAN
Christian and Muslim religious leaders call for changes to blasphemy law
by Jibran Khan
04/14/2009 PAKISTAN
Swat Valley: President Zardari authorises Islamic law, Taliban rejoice
by Qaiser Felix
11/15/2007 PAKISTAN
Countdown for democracy in Islamabad
by Qaiser Felix
04/01/2008 PAKISTAN
Enough discrimination we want a modern Pakistan, says Christian lawmaker
by Qaiser Felix
06/26/2008 PAKISTAN
Stop executions to honour Bhutto, Pakistani PM says
by Qaiser Felix

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.