Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note:
Pakistan’s abusive and controversial blasphemy laws continues to at the root of many instances of Christian persecution in Pakistan. Often used to settle personal scores or for economic gain, the blasphemy laws are often wielded as a weapon of choice when it comes to abusing religious minorities in Pakistan. Many of the critics of the blasphemy laws have come under threat from extremist groups and two of the country’s most vocal critics were murdered for calling for reform to the blasphemy laws. Will things ever change? Will Pakistan ever be able to put the issue of blasphemy in the past?
2/12/2014 Pakistan (World Magazine) – False accusations of blasphemy, forced marriages, and social hostility face Christians in Pakistan, where many view non-Muslims as a lower class and not even Pakistani, according to International Christian Concern’s William Stark.
Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law makes it illegal to speak against Islam. Todd Nettleton, director of media development at Voice of the Martyrs, said the law is used as a weapon. Worst of all, accusers don’t need any proof. There are no consequences for false accusations, but anyone accused is arrested and imprisoned during the investigation.
Although Pakistan has never executed anyone for blasphemy, vigilantes frequently entrap and sometimes kill those accused. They have created a climate of fear, forcing frightened judges into holding court sessions inside jails and keeping witnesses from coming to defend the accused. Two prominent politicians who criticized the law were murdered in recent years.
Human Rights Watch said in its 2014 report that “abuses are rife under the country’s abusive blasphemy law, which is used against religious minorities, often to settle personal disputes.”
Stark said these cases have been going on since the blasphemy law was enacted in 1986, but are more publicized today. Extremists now disproportionately accuse Christians of blasphemy. In 2013, 12 Christians were officially accused of blasphemy—one-third of all blasphemy accusations that year, Stark said. Yet Christians make up only 2.5 percent of the population.
Tariq, a Christian, is currently in hiding after authorities charged him with blasphemy. He said the charges came after he quarreled with two customers who bought faulty firecrackers from him. When he refused to apologize, he said the customers went to police in Lahore and told them he had stuffed the firecrackers with pages torn from the Quran, a lie.
Even if a court declares someone innocent of blasphemy, radicals will often try to kill the accused. “You essentially have to go into hiding for the rest of your life,” Stark said.

[Full Story]