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ICC Note:

Christian leaders in Pakistan welcome the suggested review of the country’s notorious blasphemy laws by the Islamic Ideology Council. Recently, the president of the Islamic Ideology Council suggested that the government should recommend the laws to his council for review to see if the current implementation is consistent with Islam. This is one of the first times Islamic leaders in Pakistan have suggested reviewing the country’s blasphemy laws and comes as a ray of hope for many of Pakistan’s persecuted religious minorities.  

2/11/2016 Pakistan (The Irish Catholic) – Christian leaders in Pakistan have welcomed suggestions by Muhammad Khan Sherani, President of the Islamic Ideology Council, that the country’s repressive blasphemy might be amended. While there is a possibility that the already strict law could be made more censorious, Christian activist Nasir Saeed, director of the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, said “President Sherani’s words are encouraging, given that until a few years ago one could not even discuss this law”.

Until a November Supreme Court decision, even criticizing or challenging the law constituted blasphemy against Islam, a legal position that stifled debate on the issue.

Lahore’s Archbishop Sebastian Shaw said Pakistan’s bishops “welcome the reflection and steps taken by the council”.

Expressing the “hope that an amendment of the blasphemy law, to prevent further abuse, is imminent”, Dr. Shaw said “the abuse of the law, used for other purposes, hurts many Muslim and Christian Pakistani citizens, and all religions, unjustly destroying the lives of many innocent people.”

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