Amendments in Blasphemy Law Under Consideration: Penalties for Misuse

615

repeal-blasphemy-laws
The blasphemy law has long been misused against minorities especially the Christian community in Pakistan. A new bill to stop the misuse of the blasphemy law is set to be introduced in the country soon.

A draft bill will be presented in the parliament for the government’s approval to curb the misuse of the existing blasphemy law.
READ: Shahzad and Shama Falsely accused for blasphemy and burnt alive by charged mob

14 people including Asia bibi have been condemned with death row and 19 others are serving life sentences under the blasphemy law. The interior ministry has prepared the proposal vetted by the law ministry.
The proposal aims to change the norm of people taking law into their own hands as only the state including the police and courts are responsible for deciding what to do if anyone is found guilty of blasphemy.
READ: Asia Bibi charged under 295-C losing hope after death sentence

According to the interior ministry, there are procedural loop holes in Pakistan Penal Codes section 295-C hence the introduction of new clauses. Strict penalties will be implemented for anyone who falsely accuses someone on blasphemy.

Mens rea or bad intention will need to be established as a necessary element under the amended 295-C. This means a general intent to break the law or plan to commit a particular offence will have to be proven before the use of the blasphemy legislation.

READ: Christians of Pakistan protest against exploited blasphemy law

After a marked increase in cases registered in the past 25 years, it has been pointed by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan that this legislation continues to take a heavy toll on human lives. The amendment in the 295-C law is also due to Euorpean countries showing deep concern over the increasing misuse of law.