Nirj Deva MEP: Scrap Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws – OpEd


By Dignitatis Humanae Institute

Jesus Christ instructed his followers to remember these words: “No servant is greater than his master: if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” The truth of this warning has sadly never been more undeniable than in our present age, where in some countries today the very law itself gives itself as a pretext for persecution.

The persistent violence and waves of terror currently waged upon Pakistan’s besieged Christian population has today led the Dignitatis Humanae Institute to renew its calls for the Pakistan government to end its so-called “blasphemy trials”.

Nirj Deva MEP
Nirj Deva MEP

Christians in Pakistan have long lived under an unrelenting reign of persecution, yet the recent rise of injustices against Christians has caused many to despair for any future improvement under the current conditions. In the last month we have seen the three-week holding of Rishma Masih in a high security prison and refused bail. A young Christian girl with Down’s syndrome, her alleged crime was the burning of the Koran; which now appears to have been a false allegation concocted by the local Imam. While Rishma may be spared the death penalty, there is still the murder of an 11 year old Christian boy, Samel Yaqoob, to be resolved, his body found burnt, tortured and mutilated.

At the heart of many of these cases is Pakistan’s continued enforcement of the blasphemy law – a legal framework with which the Islamic agitators in the country use to terrorise Christian communities for their refusal to adhere to Shariah Law. A license to incite violence, the law is responsible for many attacks on those accused; only this July a defendant was lynched by a mob who stormed the jail.

Today, Nirj Deva MEP, President of the International Committee on Human Dignity, called in the name of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute on the Pakistan government to put an end to the blasphemy prosecutions: “The great nation of Pakistan was the dream of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who envisaged a state where people of all religions would be free to live in peace. It is lamentable that this pioneering vision has been seemingly forgotten and suppressed in today’s Pakistan. The current blasphemy law and the safety of Pakistan’s Christian minorities are not compatible, as the case of the two children Rishma and Samel and countless other examples sadly demonstrate, and I would therefore urge the Pakistani government to continue the work of the martyred Shahbaz Bhatti and bring an end to these blasphemy prosecutions; all the communities of Pakistan deserve better than this current state of perpetual fear.”

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