Christian persecution watchdog Forgotten Missionaries International FMI, has issued a report on rising misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. FMI reports that Christians are being targeted and are being embroiled in false blasphemy cases. FMI states that the principle “innocent until proven guilty” is not practiced in the densely Islamic country when it comes to the blasphemy.
FMI refers to a recent report chalked out by Amnesty International, which states that blasphemy laws are being used to punish Christians in order to settle personal disputes. FMI further claims that evidence does not matters when a non-Muslims especially Christians. The group states that Christians in most of the cases are imprisoned unjustly for years even without trials that are delayed on purpose.
FMI mentioned the famed case of Christian woman Asia Noreen Bibi accused of committing blasphemy, has been languishing behind the bars. FMI states that Asia Bibi has been waiting for years and to face a trial in court, her most recent court hearing was cancelled when one of the judges refused to hear the case.
While commenting in this regard, FMI’s Bruce Allen said that in case Asia Bibi is acquitted and is set free she will not be able to lead a normal life in Pakistan. She will have to move to another country, as she certainly faces threats to her life.
“There are hundreds of Pakistanis imprisoned falsely under blasphemy laws. In even more recent days, there was a Pakistani Christian who at the end of December, right before New Year’s, was arrested because people said they found ripped up pages of the Koran in front of his home, and his name was on those pages.”
He said that the very fact that the Christian respondent is an illiterate man who cannot read or write. Alllen said that how can an illiterate man write his name on the Quranic pages. Police has ignored the basic facts in this case, that do not quite match up. “Why would a Christian spend what little money they had on the Koran, and why would they commit a crime punishable by death, and put their name all over it?” he said.
He said that what is more, his family was also arrested. Allen said that police claims that the family was arrested for the sake of their own security. FMI further claims that the motivation behind these false accusations isn’t always about religion. Misuse of blasphemy laws is sometimes the most convenient way to settle personal disputes with Christians.
Allen says, “It’s often that there’s some sort of personal vendetta between a Muslim and a Christian or the families or something, and the Muslim is going to use this blasphemy accusation to intimidate the Christian or the Christian family.”
“It really is a volatile issue, a very sensitive topic — 97 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million people are Muslim. And many of them, regardless of what the laws would say in a call for evidence in a trial or something — they don’t care about that. They just want to defend Islam at all costs,” Allen said.