Some possible good news. Loonwatch asked Pakistani blasphemy law reform advocate Arafat Mazhar his thoughts on a proposed bill seeking to curb the misuse of blasphemy laws and he says tentatively that he doesn’t know the details but also added that it “sounds great.”:
@loonwatchers I don’t know the details im assuming procedural reforms it sounds great.I’ll try getting my hands on it
— arafat mazhar (@arafatmazhar) June 4, 2015
Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws could soon be modified to combat increasing misuse, it has emerged, just weeks after experts warned that the government is failing to protect its citizens.
A draft bill introducing severe penalties against those who make false allegations of blasphemy has been finalised by the interior ministry, and will now be put before the Pakistani government. The new legislation aims to ensure that people do not take the law into their own hands, and will require proof that an individual intended to commit blasphemy before they can be charged.
The current law has been blamed for increasing inter-religious tensions across the country. Human rights groups say that it is frequently misused by extremists, and false charges are often brought against Christians in order to settle personal scores or to seize property or businesses. Perhaps the most infamous case is that of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy and now facing the death penalty. Her case made global headlines when two prominent politicians were assassinated after trying to help her.
More recently, anti-Christian violence erupted in a suburb of Lahore after a mentally ill man, identified as Humayun Masih, was accused of burning pages from the Quran. According to local reports, Christians in the area were forced to leave their homes, and police prevented a mob from setting fire to a church.