04/21/2022 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Six people were sentenced to death in Pakistan on Monday for lynching a Sri Lankan man for alleged blasphemy. The attack took place last December when the Sri Lankan factory owner was beaten to death by a mob.
A Pakistan anti-terrorism court gave nine others life in prison while an additional 72 members of the mob were given two-year sentences. Human rights groups and church leaders applauded the verdict. The national project coordinator at the Catholic bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace told UCA News, “We are against the death penalty. However, in this case, there had to be a precedent [set] against vigilantism and mob violence. It was the right thing to do. We are looking forward to verdicts in similar cases.”
Since the attack over four months ago, Sri Lankan Church leaders demanded action from the Pakistani court. Cardinal Ranjith, the Sri Lankan cardinal that has actively sought justice for victims of religious attacks, called the attacks an “insult to religions,” commenting, “There is nothing more tragic in this world than the killing of a man by extremists in the name of religion for personal and political gain.”
While justice is served, the ambiguous blasphemy laws in Pakistan encourage this kind of action. The harsh but perhaps appropriate sentencing may deter radicals from further violence in the name of their faith, but until the blasphemy laws are repealed, we are just waiting for another fervent mob to kill more alleged blasphemers.