David Cameron: Stand up for British citizens and support them against Pakistan's Blasphemy laws.
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I started this petition off to support British/Pakistani national Masood Ahmad, 72, who was arrested a few months ago in Lahore on blasphemy charges. Since then, I've learned that he's been granted bail but this is sadly no victory as at the same time I've also come to learn that there are British citizens who have been in Pakistani jails for YEARS under these same Blasphemy laws. This is scandalous, and we must do something about it. I'll give the story of Masood Ahmad until I get more details of the new cases that have come to light.
Two people posing as patients came to him for treatment and had a conversation about religion instead.
They used mobile phones to secretly film him reciting a verse from the Koran, and then called the police to have him arrested.
Mr Ahmad is an Ahmadi, a member of a minority sect who consider themselves Muslim but were declared heretical under blasphemy laws enacted in Pakistan in the 1980's by the military dictator Zia-ul-Haq. Under the laws, Ahmadis like Mr Ahmad are not allowed to call themselves Muslim, to offer the Muslim greeting of 'Assalamo-alaikum', to pray or to inscribe their homes, graves or places of worship with Islamic inscriptions.
This Christmas Day, thousands of Pakistanis live in fear of practicing their faith. Not just Ahmadis, but Christians, Hindus and other minorities. Pakistan's Kafkaesque Blasphemy laws are used to target minorities on spurious charges, with people languishing in prison for simply practicing their faith. In one case, Nazir Ahmad Khoso, a seventeen-year-old Ahmadi boy from Sindh, was charged with “injuring the religious feelings of Muslims,” and other related blasphemy charges and sentenced to 118 years in prison.
The Ahmadis are a peaceful minority sect, whose motto 'Love for All, Hatred for None' means that they have never retaliated despite the continual, violent persecution of their beliefs in Pakistan and other parts of the world.
The British Government needs to work to secure the release of Masood Ahmad and push the Pakistani government to repeal these Talibanised laws.
It is a basic human right to practice any faith or none. We urge the British goverment and the Prime Minister to remind the Pakistani government of this.
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