Pakistan to Curb Blasphemy Law Abuse

Monday, June 1, 2015

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News)-- Pakistan intends to introduce new legislation to curb the misuse of that nation's notorious blasphemy laws.

According to International Christian Concern, under Section 295 A-C of Pakistan's penal code, it is illegal to incite religious sentiments, desecrate the Quran and defame Islam's prophet. Punishment under Section 295 can result in life imprisonment, or even execution.

The proposed legislation would discourage mob violence and the extra-judicial killings that so often follow an accusation of blasphemy by reserving the punishment of offenders to the state. It would also introduce new penalties for anyone who files a false accusation and require prosecutors to demonstrate that the defendant(s) had a deliberate intent to blaspheme.

Human rights organizations have documented the abuse of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which are often filed to settle personal disputes or persecute religious minorities, e.g., Christians have always been disproportionately accused and convicted under Section 295.

"Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan have been terrorized by the widely abused blasphemy laws for decades," said William Stark, ICC's Regional Manager for South Asia ... For Christians accused of blasphemy, the threat of being murdered outside of court is more likely than being executed by the state...."