Repeal Pakistan's blasphemy laws
This petition had 2,949 supporters
Less than one week after the Easter Sunday killing of over 70 people, mostly Christians, in Lahore, the government of Pakistan again showed itself to be weak in the face of protests by Islamists angry at the execution of political assassin Mumtaz Qadri.
Initial promises to crack down on extremists now seem a long way off as the government gave in to seven of the ten demands made by protesters in Islamabad, including a promise not to make any amendments to the extremely controversial and widely misused blasphemy laws.
Of great concern is the government’s accession to one of the demands to ‘show no leniency’ to anyone convicted of blasphemy. This, alongside the protesters calling for her execution, puts Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has been on death row for blasphemy since 2010, in a very grave position.
As well as demanding no amendments to the blasphemy law and no leniency for those convicted under it, they have been specifically demanding Asia Bibi’s execution.
The voices of those who oppose the blasphemy laws are silenced through violence. Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were both assassinated after speaking out against the blasphemy laws and in support of Asia Bibi.
Release International first ran a campaign for the repeal of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan in 2011.
Today we are renewing our call for the government of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to act with courage and humanity and abolish these iniquitous laws for the good of all Pakistanis.
The Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in Islamabad states in its report “Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan - A Historical Overview”, that since 1990, as well as those convicted through the courts, “52 people have been extra-judicially murdered, for being implicated in blasphemy charges”.
Will you add your voice to our campaign to see this unjust, misused law finally repealed?
Please sign and share the petition below so that we can together raise our concerns on behalf of those who suffer such great injustice.
To Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
We strongly urge the Government of Pakistan to repeal the nation’s blasphemy laws, most notably section 295c which carries a mandatory death sentence. These laws, which are frequently misused and foster religious intolerance, are incompatible with Pakistan’s aspiration of being a modern, democratic, Islamic state respected by the international community.
We would encourage you when considering this to listen afresh to the words of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his first Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (August 11, 1947), where he stated “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the State”.
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