"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pakistan to debate relaxing infamous blasphemy law

A debate over the misuse of Pakistan's blasphemy law is set to begin next week. 

The law, which carries a death penalty for insulting anything related to Islam and the prophet Muhammad, is often used as a way to settle personal scores against Christians.

The law's been used to hold mother of five Asia Bibi on death row since 2010. 

She was arrested after an argument erupted between her and a group of Muslim women when they became angry at her for drinking the same water as them.

The group accused her of insulting Muhammad - a claim which she denies.

In December, a Christian shopkeeper was arrested and charged with blasphemy after page torn from the Qu'ran was found outside his house by a rival shop owner.

The Christian shopkeeper - who is illiterate - could face a death sentence.

In a move praised by human rights campaigners, Pakistani politicians will discuss ways to install checks and balance on the rules.

But Beth Fuller from Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors told Premier that any changes might not go far enough.

She said: "One of the changes that they have talked about making to these laws is to change the punishment from a mandatory death penalty to life imprisonment which is obviously still a very severe punishment.

"It's difficult to see how these laws could be changed significantly at the moment. But if they are we would welcome that and it would be fantastic to see the change it would make to lives of Christians in Pakistan."

Pakistan ranks as the 6th worst country in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according Open Doors.

Source: premier.org.uk, January 20, 2017

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