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CLAAS welcomes EU resolution on religious freedom in Pakistan

ICC Note

“Although this resolution is a very important and significant step for our work, we still have a lot of work to do before Christians in Pakistan can really say they are free to live and worship as Christians. As much as we can work towards this goal, the Pakistani government needs to start taking the necessary steps to grant equal rights to all of its citizens, and not simply those who belong to its favoured religion. Repealing the blasphemy laws would be an obvious first step.”

06/05/2010 Pakistan (PCP)-CLAAS, a charity providing free legal assistance to persecuted Christians in Pakistan , has welcomed a resolution on religious freedom in Pakistan passed by the European Parliament last month.

The resolution, passed on May 20, expresses “deep concern” over the country’s highly contentious blasphemy laws, which the resolution noted were “open to misuse”. The resolution also calls for a “thoroughgoing review” of the blasphemy laws.

CLAAS and other Christian rights groups say the blasphemy laws have been misused by extremists to settle personal scores with Christians. Anyone found guilty of blasphemy faces execution or a lengthy prison sentence.

He said that would not be possible without a change in the government’s attitude towards minorities.

He said: “Although this resolution is a very important and significant step for our work, we still have a lot of work to do before Christians in Pakistan can really say they are free to live and worship as Christians. As much as we can work towards this goal, the Pakistani government needs to start taking the necessary steps to grant equal rights to all of its citizens, and not simply those who belong to its favoured religion. Repealing the blasphemy laws would be an obvious first step.”

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