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ICC Note: Hundreds of Pakistani’s have protested in memory of the Christian couple killed last week by a mob in northwest Pakistan and calling for the government to amend its laws that promote sectarian violence. Blasphemy laws in Pakistan are regularly used to both imprison and potentially execute alleged violators – such as Asia Bibi – and to settle personal scores. Just the accusation, can move a mob to violence and in some cases brutal violence like what took the life of Shama and Shehzad.

11/07/2014 Pakistan (Express Tribune) – Hundreds of people staged a protest demonstration on Thursday outside the Faisalabad Press Club against the killing of a Christian couple accused of blasphemy on Tuesday in Kot Radha Kishan.

The demonstrators urged the government to swiftly punish those held responsible for the incident to prevent the persecution of minorities in the country. They also asked the government to take comprehensive steps to put an end to misuse of criminal laws. The prosecutors said the state had an obligation to prevent the proliferation of provocative literature that promoted intolerance. The demonstrators also urged the government to regulate loudspeaker use to promote communal harmony and public order.

The protest demonstration was organised by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM), the Right to Expression, Assembly, Association and Thought (REAT) Network, the Peace and Human Development (PHD) Foundation, the National Minorities Alliance of Pakistan (NMAP), the South Asia Partnership-Pakistan (SAP-PK), and the Peace for Nation International and the Adara Samaji Behbood (ASB).

The demonstrators carried placards and banners inscribed with slogans against religious persecution. They also raised slogans against intolerance, misuse of laws and religious extremism.

Father Khalid Rasheed said that the state had failed to promote a culture of peace and understanding. He said the state had been unable to protect the life and property of minorities. Rasheed said laws were being misused to victimise minorities.

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