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ICC Note: 
Blasphemy laws in Pakistan continue to be a major source of concern for Christian and religious minorities. Some reports assert that as many as 1,200 innocents have been charged with violating blasphemy laws from 1986 to 2012—half of those convicted representing minorities that constitute but 5% of the Pakistani population. Recently elected to a second term, Prime Minister Sharif has once again been extended an opportunity to amend Pakistani blasphemy laws to protect the rights of all citizens, not just those of the majority. The question remains, however, as to whether or not the head of state has any intention of pursuing such reform.
By Nasir Saeed
6/6/2013 Pakistan (Christian Post) – The Council of Islamic Ideology in Pakistan held a meeting on May 29, headed by Maulana Sherani, and warned that if the blasphemy laws are amended, the country’s minorities will be unsafe, but how much worse could the situation get?
Minorities have been suffering since these laws were introduced by General Zia Ul Haq in 1986. Why is the council only now expressing concern about this? As if it had not noticed all the bloodshed and cries of the religious minorities for help over the last three decades. They need to wake up and take a good look at what is happening across Pakistan on a virtually daily basis. Bloodshed in the name of religion is happening all the time. Attacks on churches and the torching of Christian villages happen so often that the question believers ask themselves is not if it will happen again, but when. And, yes, the stories they must surely have heard of innocent people being burned alive are also true. If the council really has not been aware of all these human rights abuses then that is worrisome indeed.

It is admitted by Pakistan’s religious leaders and politicians that blasphemy laws are widely being misused. Human rights organizations, high profile Christians like Rowan Williams and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and even some Muslims are demanding that it be repealed or, at the very least, suitably amended. Now it all depends on the new government and the new prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, and whether they will accept or reject the council’s recommendations. Mian Nawaz Sharif has already missed one chance in 1991 to appeal against the mandatory death penalty set by the federal shariah court. Now Mian Sharif has a second chance to show whether he has changed or not.

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