Condemning misuse of blasphemy law
ISLAMABAD, Sept 8 : The Centre for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement (CLAAS), Civil Society Organisations and human rights activists have condemned the misuse of Blasphemy Laws, which has resulted in inhuman discrimination in the name of religion against religious minorities in Pakistan.
In a statement CLAAS has said that the religious minorities in Pakistan are facing insecurity and becoming victims of inappropriate mindset which is visible from the various inhuman incidents happening in the past and continuing in the present and the catalogue of these oppressions and cruelties against the religious minorities is very big.
CLAAS in its annual report 2011, launched here Saturday, published a survey report after one-on-one meetings with 96 prisoners in which 6 Christians and 90 Muslims were imprisoned under blasphemy charges in 13 jails of the Punjab province.
At present, around 170 Muslims and Christians are imprisoned, accused of blasphemy in Punjab jails, and the majority of them are Muslims.
The blasphemy allegations also arise for taking revenge in personal enmities, disputes over property, illegal land grabbing, family and marital disputes, and over business rivalries. Many are still waiting for the start of their case trials in the courts.Victims were falsely
implicated in blasphemy cases and extra judicial killings, attacks on churches and other places of worship, and illegal land grabbing etc.
As a result of blockade and arson, 8 Christians were burnt alive as well as the whole of Shanti Nagar was burnt to ashes.
“It is a shame that none of the successive governments made public the investigation reports of these incidents and not even a single accused was convicted or penalised till date,” it said.
CLAAS has said that it was unjust when the government compensated the burnt victims of Gojra with only Rs500,000, while the terrorist who was killed in the massacre was compensated with Rs1,000,000 and a house; and afterwards all the attackers were released. Christians have also been killed in the police custody and in jails.
CLAAS has also said that prayer leader Qari Khalid Jadoon Chishti and Ammad Malik got registered a false blasphemy case on the basis of forged evidences against Rimshah — it once again proved that the Blasphemy Laws are misused against Christians.
The prayer leader also misused the mosque’s loudspeaker and mischievously called upon his fellow Muslim residents of the community to indulge in violence and take the law into their own hands against Christians. The perpetrators violating the name of Islam must be brought to justice.
The statement jointly issued by members of civil society and NGOs said that the legislation formulated in the name of religion continues to generate intolerance, hatred, violent attitudes and mob vigilante violence in the society against religious and sectarian minorities.
CLAAS has also maintained the record of those who were killed in anger and resentment of acquittal of blasphemy incidents, where the blasphemy allegations were proved as false, frivolous and baseless.
The CLAAS report said that the police usually register the blasphemy cases due to mob pressure and fear, and the lower courts similarly, also never tried the cases in accordance with fundamental principles and practice of the law, which has caused chaos and injustice for people.