Pakistan should repeal the Draconian Blasphemy Law immediately

TORONTO, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Since SAHRA brought to light the killing of a 25 year old Hindu factory worker Jagdish Kumar by lynching, in April 2008 on the allegations of Blasphemy by coworkers, no one has been criminally charged for his murder. Such cases have been taking place since the option of life imprisonment under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code ("Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet"), the 'blasphemy law', introduced by Gen. Zia ul Haq in 1985 was amended by default in 1992 to make death the mandatory punishment for anyone convicted under this law. Certainly, the law does not provide for these extra-judicial murders.

On the other hand, there have been several cases where citizens were charged under the blasphemy law, including a case of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, now sentenced to death and even an appeal by Pope Benedict XVI to pardon her, has fallen on deaf ears. There has also been a recent case of a Muslim Lawyer charged for blasphemy for throwing out a business card of a person who shares his first name with prophet Mohammed. It has been alleged that the real reason for these charges is usually personal animosity.

Pakistan's blasphemy law is draconian by any standards and should be repealed immediately to protect the citizens from further violations of their human rights, SAHRA appeals to the Pakistani Government to repeal this law when parliament reconvenes December 20th 2010.

SOURCE South Asians for Human Rights Association (SAHRA)

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