[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]06/12/2020 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In May 2020 ICC published a report on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The report, titled The Voiceless Victims of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, presents the stories of 22 Christians incarcerated due to their faith and suggests proactive measures to be taken on their behalf.
Pakistan is one of three countries where blasphemy is punishable by death. These laws are often abused to settle personal scores and incite religious hatred. There is widespread religious intolerance and bias in the country, so members of Pakistan’s religious minority communities are constantly targeted and punished under the country’s blasphemy laws.
Pakistan’s Penal Code includes 4 sections, 295, 295-A, 295-B, and 295-C, that make up Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The sections include:
- Section 295: Injuring or defiling places of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class. Punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, or fine, or both
- Section 295-A: Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. Punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment, or fine, or both
- Section 295-B: Defiling, etc., of the Quran. Punishable by imprisonment for life
- Section 295-C: Use of derogatory remarks—spoken, written, direct or indirect, etc.—that defile the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Mandatory death sentence and fine
Unfortunately, under these sections, Pakistani authorities are motivated to punish individuals found guilty of offending others’ religious sentiments. However, in the majority of cases, these are false accusations and the laws are abused by individuals motivated by prejudice.
Along with the 22 current victims, this report highlights the injustices that Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was made victim to blasphemy charges that had kept her on death row for over a decade. Her case, though. has helped to highlight the power of international advocacy, which was critical to her acquittal.
Overall we see that, without international advocacy, individual blasphemy cases like Bibi’s move extremely slowly and will often stall within the Pakistani judicial system. The international community, NGOs, and voices like yours have an impact on changing countless Pakistani lives.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”Click Here to Read the Full Report” color=”mulled-wine” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.persecution.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F05%2F0520_icc_blasphemy_report.pdf|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]