ICC Note: Asia News posted a story today that was excellent regarding the blasphemy laws in Pakistan . In the last 20 years 280 people were charged with blasphemy (65 of them Christians with dozens of them having been killed). What is most interesting though is that they raised the point that those of us in Persecution Ministry have raised for years, that these laws are used to settle personal disputes and grudges. In fact, Religious Affairs minister, Ejaz ul Haq, admitted that the laws had been abused.
From AsiaNews The law (Sections 295-B, C, 298-A, B, C of the Pakistani criminal code) is often called into play to settle personal vendettas and to vent hatred. Religious Affairs minister, Ejaz ul Haq, admitted in a recent interview that, in the last 18 years, the law has been abused. From 1927 to 1986, in fact, there had been only 7 cases of blasphemy; instead, from 1986 to date, 4000 cases have been reported.
At the urging of President Musharraf over past months, the anti-blasphemy law was revised last July, but only at the technical and procedural level: the death penalty for those who slander Islam was confirmed.
Many Christians have been killed by Islamic extremists who take their inspiration from the anti-blasphemy law. The most recent victim, Nasir Masih, age 21, died August 20 as a result of police torture. In May, another two Christians, Samuel Masih and Javed Anjum, were killed: Samuel, charged under the anti-blasphemy law, was killed by a policeman in a Lahore hospital; Javed was tortured to death by Islamic extremists in the Jamia Hassan Bin Murtaza madras, in Punjab .