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09/13/2023 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – The use, and misuse, of blasphemy laws to target and persecute Pakistan’s Christian communities has escalated in recent years.

Evidence of this most recently can be seen in the aftermath of the violence in Jaranwala, where a mob vandalized and set fire to about two dozen churches, targeted Christian homes, and attacked the office of an assistant commissioner. This incident was extreme, but other incidents related to these blasphemy laws have occurred as well, and with increasing frequency.

Taimur, a resident of a nearby community, recently found himself at the center of one such incident. He was standing at a local restaurant when he noticed pages that had been torn from the Quran being thrown from a nearby rooftop. Concerned about the sacred text, he picked up the pages and proceeded to investigate further. He approached the house from which the pages had been thrown to inquire to its residents about what was going on. A woman answered the door, and upon being questioned, informed Taimur that it was her children who were responsible.

Taimur was not satisfied with this explanation and insisted on checking the house for more evidence. The woman reluctantly allowed him in, and he discovered additional torn pages inside a pink bag on the rooftop. He immediately contacted the police, who responded quickly to the scene and collected the torn pages as evidence. The Christian couple who owned the home was taken into custody and charged in violation of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and are now awaiting their legal proceedings.

This incident, and many others like it, have continued to raise concerns among Pakistan’s Christian communities. Pakistan’s constitutional endorsement of Islam and blasphemy laws make it easier for Christians to be imprisoned or killed.

These laws were introduced in the 1980s and have been controversial. While the laws were meant to protect religious sentiments, they have often been misused to settle personal scores, incite violence, and target Christians and minority communities such as Jaranwala.

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