Status of the Blasphemy
Accused in 13 Different Jails in the
Over the past several decades, Pakistan has undergone a process of Islamization, particularly in terms of the misuse and abuse of the blasphemy laws contained in section 295-C, an offence that is punishable by death.
The use of this bylaw has creating an environment where some religious fanatics believe that they are entitled to take law into their own hands. There have been many instances where the local administration and police have either collude with perpetrators or have stood by and do nothing to assist the accused, themselves fearing the crowd.
The use of the blasphemy law has become a quick way of resolving disputes arising from business rivalry, honor disputes, disputes over money and property. Those accused of blasphemy face the very real threat of assassination whilst on trial or on bail. There have been many examples of extrajudicial killings, threats to life, revenge being taken by communities in response to the accusations.
The typical pattern in many blasphemy cases is an accusation (usually false) of blasphemy by a rival, this is normally followed by announcements being made from mosque loudspeakers inciting the gathered audience to turn upon their own neighbors and friends with in their own communities.
Whilst it is a misnomer to presume that blasphemy cases are only charged against minorities in Pakistan as all communities fall foul of the laws misuse the issue of religious inequality and discrimination is a concern to Life for All. There has been an ever-growing series of attacks, threats and a great loss of civilian lives and harassment in the name of religion that has led to the collapse of the rule of law in the country.
Life for All is gravely concerned that the recent instances of sectarian violence against members of the religious minorities, especially Christians, are on religiously motivated grounds. Neither the government nor any of the political opposition parties have publicly condemned such acts of religious hatred & violence and the government does not appear to have taken all possible measures to ensure the safety of those accused of blasphemy.
Whilst nobody so far has been judicially executed after having been found guilty of blasphemy, hundreds of Christians who have been charged with blasphemy have died, many in the suspicious circumstances in jails and at the hands of extremist armed attackers. In addition, to date neither the government nor any investigating tribunal has made their findings public regarding the violent attacks by the armed attackers. It is the primary duty of the government as well as the law enforcement agencies to adopt international standards for the protection of the rights of religious minorities and to conform to the relevant international human rights instruments.
Therefore, Life for All urge the Government of Pakistan to take actions to eliminate discriminatory legislation based on religion, degrading religious minorities and all inhuman acts against minorities in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial as provided by Law.
Life for All`s survey focuses on how the blasphemy laws have been misused in the name of religion in the Punjab. It is an effort to focus national and international attention on the misuse and abuse of blasphemy laws which are against the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on states.
Most importantly, the safety of those charged with blasphemy, whether free on bail, in police or judicial custody or acquitted and released, is another concern for LFA, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
Please view the attached document to learn more specifically how the blasphemy laws have been misused in specific cases in the name of religion in Punjab. (CLICK HERE)