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ICC Note: Many Christians groups claim that Christians and religious tolerance will be deeply affected by the results of last week’s national elections. According to reports, not a single Christian candidate ran in the national elections and all of the three main parties contesting are pro-Islamic. Last week’s national elections also saw a proliferation of religious extremist groups seeking electoral posts. This included one party actively advocating to kill blasphemers.

07/29/2018 Pakistan (Cross Rhythms) – Whoever wins Pakistan elections, Christians and religious tolerance are likely to be the losers, as extremists press into the mainstream, calling for tougher blasphemy laws. Whatever the outcome, Release International will keep campaigning for the notorious blasphemy laws to be repealed.

The elections have seen a tilt towards religious extremism, with Islamist parties fielding hundreds more candidates than in previous years. One new party, the TLP, is campaigning on a ticket to kill blasphemers.

Release International, which supports persecuted Christians in Pakistan and around the world, has long campaigned for the repeal of the blasphemy laws. ‘These notorious laws are often used to target minorities and to take out rivals. Whatever the result of these elections, Release will continue to call for the blasphemy laws to be repealed,’ says CEO Paul Robinson.

Three main parties are contesting the polls: all are pro-Islam. The governing party is the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), whose former leader is ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Sharif was jailed for corruption, following the leaking of the Panama Papers which alleged illegal offshore investments.

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