The Long Overhauled Blasphemy Law – Will Change Be Welcomed?

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PAKISTAN
Pakistan’s blasphemy law has been long over hauled. It is a loosely written law, open to any kind of interpretation. As change in process, it is being opposed by many. The last time change was proposed or a voice was raised against the law, Governor Punjab Salman Taseer lost his life.

4 years down the lane nothing much has changed. Pakistan was recently designated a country of particular concern owing to the extensive persecution of religious minorities in the region. This designation by the USCIRF might have provoked the changes in the blasphemy law.

Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International credits international pressure. “Pakistan wants to be a member of the world community. Lawmakers finally did draft this bill to revise the current blasphemy laws, to kind of get rid of some of the very easy abuses.”

Anyone who is accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, can be treated in any way the accuser wishes. It can even mean being burnt alive. Attempts to tighten the blasphemy law have been on and off since 2000.

Although the measures to ‘tighten up’, the language of the law and to fill up the loop holes that withhold justice are under way, the bill has a long way to go. It’s not been signed into law yet.

According to the rules of the Pakistani senate, the bill has to pass through three different readings by the lawmakers before being voted upon