CLAAS concerned about increasing misuse of blasphemy law against Christians

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CLAAS, a charity and advocacy group had expressed serious concerns over alarming increase of blasphemy cases against Pakistani Christians. In a span of one month, three cases of Christians being accused of blasphemy have been reported. “This is a dangerous trend and it has to be stopped,” says Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS UK.

Christians arrested in Christian Town, Faisalabad

A Christian lad, Imran Masih was accused of committing blasphemy in Chak 44, in District Mandi Bahuddin. His colleagues accused him of watching anti-Islam sermons, and consequently, a fatwa was issued against him. His entire neighborhood was punished in the form of a socio-economic boycott owing to the traditional fury as in cases of blasphemy accusation. The blasphemy allegations were later on proved baseless.

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After a few days, a Christian girl Sonia Bibi was accused of committing blasphemy by a woman who claimed that she had desecrated a panaflex which had names and photos of Islamic clerics on it. The Christian respondent says that the panaflex had photos of election candidates and that the panaflex had no sacred name on it. The accusations were followed by an anti-Christians charge by a mob.

In another incident, a Christian Usman Liaquat was accused of blasphemy followed by a dispute with few Muslims. He is missing since the accusations while in this case, police maintains that the underlying intentions behind the accusations are revenge. Again a charged mob assembled in front of the Christian respondent’ house terrifying the family and other Christians.

While expressing apprehension in this regard, Nasir Saeed, says that the cases of misusing the blasphemy law against Christians are increasing alarmingly. “It is a worrying situation, as far as I am aware, this is an all-time high number over such a short period of time.

“To my knowledge, since the law was introduced in united India in 1860 and then further amended by the military dictator General Zia ul Hague in 1982, three cases in a row have never been registered in one month.” He remarked that the sole reason behind this deteriorating situation is that the government is not interested in tackling this issue.

“Sadly, all of these cases have happened in the Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan. During the partition of the united India, this province was included in Pakistan because of the Christian leaders’ support and endeavors.

They were assured by the founder of Pakistan, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, that they would be treated as equal citizens and would enjoy equal rights in the country. But the truth is that Christians are never considered equal citizens and they are most discriminated and persecuted in this province.”

He went on to criticize the Christian leaders and said, “The irony is that Provincial human rights minister, Tahir Khalil Sandhu, and the recently pointed federal human rights minster are both Christians, but they seem as oblivious and careless as their bosses.”