ISLAMABAD: Country’s apical body of clerics suggest potential amendments to the controversial blasphemy laws.
In consistency with details, the Council of Islamic Ideological has unanimously justified the divisive blasphemy laws thus suggesting some amendments in addition to, recommending death penalty for people convicted of making false accusations.
The Council of Islamic Ideological (CII), in a meeting chaired by Maulana Muhammad Sheerani earlier this week, “Upheld the Blasphemy Act as valid and legal but declared misuse of the law totally un-Islamic and equally blasphemous.”
While reflecting on this issue Allama Tahir Ashrafi chairman of Ulema Council of Pakistan said, “All the religious scholars agreed to put an end to the misuse of blasphemy laws. “
“Keeping in view the suggestions of human rights activists and civil society members, the Council of Ideology has decided to fix the same penalty for the person who falsely accuses of blasphemy as the accused,” he added.
Indisputably calls for alterations in these laws have long faced rigid opposition from the religio-political leaders over and above the society in general. Allama Tahir Ashrafi further said, “The proposed amendment would ensure that “nobody dares to use religion to settle personal scores”.
“The amendment, will also silence critics of the blasphemy laws, “ he continued.
The issue of blasphemy extraordinarily sensitive that Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated in 2011 for demanding alteration in the blasphemy law. The assassinated Governor Salman Taseer called the blasphemy law as ‘black law’ while referring to its intrinsic flaws and the consequential abuse, however religious zealots render his remarks as – an act of blasphemy that led to his murder by one of his own guards.
Under the blasphemy laws, Section 295-A; deals with an offender who deliberately intended to outrage religious feelings of any religious class by insulting its religion or religious belief. This deliberate insult may be by using written or spoken words or visual representation instead.
Section 295-B of PPC, defiling the Holy Quran was established by a Presidential ordinance in 1982 which read as “Defiling the copy of Holy Qur’an.Whoever wilfully defiles damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur’an or of an extract there from or uses it in any derogatory manner for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.”It stipulates life imprisonment penalty for the offender.
Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code is applicable when the offender uses derogatory remarks etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet: – by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation innuendo, or insinuation, directly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable for fine.