Pope Benedict XVI has called on Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws, which can carry a death sentence for insulting the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh].He said the laws served as a pretext for acts of injustice and violence against religious minorities. The Pope referred to Pakistani governor Salman Taseer, whose assassination last week was blamed on his support for changes to the blasphemy laws.
- The anti blasphemy law was introduced in Pakistan 23 years ago, which was later approved by the elected parliament, with some changes introduced on the recommendation of judiciary. All aspects including judicial, religious, cultural, social and human aspects were kept in view by the honorable people.
- During last 23 years, total 964 cases were registered under this law:
- Against Muslims 479 cases, 50% of total.
- Christians, 119 cases, 12%
- Ahmadi’s [a deviant group] 340 cases, 35%
- Hindus 14 cases 1.5%
- Others 12 cases, 1.2%
- Which religious group is most affected? Muslims 50%, Christians are only 12%.
- Not a single person has been hanged through judicial process under this law, the conviction by lower courts were set aside by higher courts after judicial process, due to lack of evidence etc.
- It is totally absurd to say that this law targets minorities, the statistics show 50% accused were Muslims, Christians being only 12%.
- Misuse of any law is possible, we know there are false cases registered for murder, robbery, corruption, rape etc, no one has ever demanded that these law should be dropped. Always efforts are made to improve upon the judicial and investigation process to nullify the misuse of any law.
- Dr. Afia Siddiqui has been kidnapped form Karachi in 2003 along with her three children, taken to Afghanistan, tried in USA courts: “She was alleged to be carrying inflammable materials and maps of potential targets in the United States “in jars” in her handbag. How big these ‘jars’ were, and how many kilogrammes of explosives were being transported in them was not mentioned to astounded readers. We were also informed that the next day, Dr Siddiqui had been shot in the abdomen “at least once” by an American soldier in self-defence after coming under fire from Dr Siddiqui who had come rushing out from behind a curtain where she was being held “unrestrained” for questioning, and picking up an M4 service rifle that had been left “at his feet” by an American warrant officer, had fired at him. And that but for the timely deflection of her shot by an Afghan interpreter she should have killed the American!!!! Dr Afia Siddiqui is accused of crimes ranging from buying blood diamonds to planning terrorist attacks to being the vilest person on earth. Yet, she was charged in court with what can only be called an impossible crime.
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Blasphemy law and conviction in Pakistan: The Facts and Fiction which Pope Benedict and every one else must know