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Petition: Release Sawan Masih and Repeal Blasphemy Laws

April 1, 2014

Release Sawan Masih and Repeal Blasphemy LawsA Sessions Court in Pakistan has sentenced a Christian sweeper Sawan Masih, 26, to death for to false accusations of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (on Him be Peace), after waiting for a trial since March 2013.

These allegations, triggered due to personal grudges between Sawan and a Muslim friend, led a mob of angry Muslims to burn down a Christian village in Joseph Colony, Lahore, leaving the poverty stricken residents homeless and penniless.

Pakistan’s “Blasphemy laws” include Section 295, related to damaging or defiling a place of worship or a sacred object. 295-A forbids outraging religious feelings. 295-B forbids defiling the Quran. 295-C forbids defaming the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Except for 295-C, the provisions of 295 require that an offence be a consequence of the accused’s intent. Defiling the Quran merits imprisonment for life. Defaming Muhammad (PBUH) merits death with or without a fine. If a charge is laid under 295-C, the trial must take place in a Sessions Court presided over by a Muslim judge. High Courts have always overturned these verdicts on appeal, but the laws continue to be misused as a weapon to execute revenge for personal enmity against non-Muslims and Muslims in Pakistan.

If you believe justice should prevail and human life is too precious to be lost to hate, please add your voice to this online petition.

DETAILS IN THIS NEWS REPORT: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26781731

Pakistan: ‘Blasphemy’ – A crime unlike any other

January 30, 2014

By NAZIHA SYED ALI | Published in Dawn, Jan 28, 2014

Last week, a 65-year-old British man of Pakistani origin, Mohammad Asghar, who is said have a history of mental illness, was sentenced to death for blasphemy by a court in Rawalpindi.

Read more…

From Quetta, Dec 10, 2013: ASWJ-SSP bullying in name of religion

December 16, 2013

pome 3 The truth behind the ‘blasphemy’ incident featuring fruit crates allegedly wrapped in pages of the Holy Quran, account received from Quetta (name withheld for security reasons):

In the early hours of 10th Dec, 2013, as usual, I heard a blast with big bang, followed by firing on Alamdar Road Quetta, where majority of residents hail from Hazara community. Read more…

Hate speech continues unabated in Pakistan

June 20, 2013

Hate speech flourishes in Pakistan, inciting violence with impunity. Lately, anti Ahmedis posters have been cropping up around Karachi

Image

Anti-Ahmedi poster on display at a the Masjid Haider Karraar, Block 2, Clifton, Karachi

These posters, which are visible around the city, display a fatwa (clerical opinion) in Urdu by Ahmed Raza Khan Bralevi, urging people to disassociate themselves from Ahmedis in respect of all matters of life and death. Read more…

Malicious intent – Pakistan’s ‘blasphemy laws’

November 3, 2012
Demonstration in support of Salmaan Taseer's killer

Pakistani extremists marching in support of Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who killed the Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, after he spoke out against the country’s blasphemy laws.

Malicious intent

Those calling for a global blasphemy law should heed the lessons from Pakistan, says Beena Sarwar, writing in New Humanist magazine

photo of Beena Sarwar

In Pakistan a democratically elected but weak government struggles to hold on to power against tremendous odds. If, despite the challenges, it completes its tenure and makes it to the next election it will be the first time in the country’s 65-year history. Despite the impression you may get from reporting about Pakistan, extremist religious voices have little popular support, and no hope of supplanting the government at the polls. But they do have other weapons at their disposal. They try to capture political space by other means, in particular by stirring up religious fervour and sectarian hatred. They are aided in this by Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Read more…

How to hold a state hostage? Use religion for politics

October 4, 2012

Need to counter the politics of hate…

Article published in The News on Sunday (TNS) Special Report on ‘Understanding 9/21′, September 30, 2012

Core of national discourse  

Immediately after Pakistan’s creation, Khatm-e-Nubuwat squeezed itself out of the epistomic confines of the ‘theological’ and entered the realm of the ‘political’  

By Tahir Kamran

Namoos-e-Rasul (honour of the Prophet PBUH) has constituted the very core of our national discourse for the last many years. The proportion of impregnability that it has assumed in Pakistan warrants a dispassionate analysis from the prism of history. Read more…

Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan: Make them better if not change them

October 4, 2012

The paper reproduced below suggesting procedural changes in the ‘blasphemy laws’ is published here with permission from the author Amer Nadeem, Attorney at Law/ Legal Consultant; he has worked with various government organizations and NGOs on issues pertaining to human rights and has also initiated campaigns. Originally published December 19, 2010 at this blog.

This paper is based on compiling laws, reported cases and my personal experience as a lawyer engaged in a number of blasphemy cases and court proceedings. The suggestions contained here pertain to changes in procedure rather substantive laws, and can be helpful to prevent the innocent from being victimised by these laws, particularly the depressed and downtrodden sections of  society, including religious minority who are vulnerable to these laws. The essence of the law is always to reach the truth. Read more…

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