Ashrafi warns of dire consequences if blasphemy laws re-discussed

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Tahir Ashrafi
Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council

Islamabad: Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) has said that all the religious scholar community was agreed upon the blasphemy law and re-discussing it would lead to dire consequences.
He said that recommendation had been proposed for the misuse of the law and had been tabled in the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). “We need to check the misuse of blasphemy laws and recommendations in this regard have been tabled in the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII)”.

He further went on to say that not only Muslims, but non-Muslims had also agreed to the need of blasphemy laws in the Constitution.

He also warned of stern punishments for those trying to misuse the law for their personal grudges.
In this regard, Maulana Muhammad Sherani, Head of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) had recently said that he was ready to review the blasphemy laws to establish if they were Islamic.

Maulana Ashrafi, targeting Sherani’s statement said, ““Maulana Sherani first agreed with the recommendation but then changed his opinion in the next meeting.” He also said that CII sends recommendations to the government based on the consensus of the religious scholars and not on Sherani’s personal views.
He also said, “Some elements are conspiring to make the blasphemy laws controversial but PUC would foil their nefarious designs”.

The All Pakistan Ulema Council is a Muslim organization in Pakistan whose members include Islamic clerics and legal scholars from a range of Islamic traditions.

Sections 298, 298A, B and C and 295, 295A, B and C of the Pakistani Constitution refer to blasphemy against any religion or religious figure. 295C the most brutal of these sections refers to use of derogatory remarks, spoken, written, directly or indirectly, etc. defiles the name of Muhammad punishable with death sentence.
From 1987 to 2014, 1300 people have been accused of blasphemy, mostly non-Muslims, the popular cases being of Asia Bibi and Rimsha Masih.

Many of the blasphemy victims have been lynched before the cases reached the court. Many a non-Muslim colonies burnt and ransacked on accusation of blasphemy. Important cases being of Shamah and Shahzad who were burnt alive in a brick kiln and Joseph Colony and Gojra incidents where entire Christian colonies were burnt to ground.
Talking about the blasphemy law has become somewhat of a taboo in Pakistan as it can lead to serious life threats. Former Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer was assinated in 2011 when he spoke up against the place of blasphemy laws in Pakistani Constitution.