Urgent call for protection of Pak Christians, blasphemy law amendment
Islamabad: A panel of five speakers at a press conference by Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) has demanded that the government should provide "total protection" to Pakistani Christians, including Rimsha Masih and her family.
According to The Express Tribune, the eight-point list of demands issued by CLAAS include provision of psycho-social trauma counseling to Rimsha and that she be tried under the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance provisions, keeping in mind that she suffers from Down's Syndrome. They also demanded that Khalid Jadoon, the prayer leader who falsely accused Rimsha, be tried under the existing blasphemy laws.
The panel said the report and recommendations of a parliamentary committee on blasphemy laws chaired by MNA Nafeesha Shah should be made public. The list of demands also included the revision of the blasphemy law to prevent its misuse, abuse and exploitation.
The speakers on the panel included CLAAS Director Joseph Francis, Raiwind Bishop Samuel Robert Azariah, rights activist Tahira Abdullah, Christian-Muslim Federation International Qazi Abdul Qadeer Khamosh and Christian Study Centre Peace and Interfaith Harmony Director Romana Bashir.
Abdullah said the Urdu translation of the anti-blasphemy law in Pakistan focuses just on Islam instead of ensuring respect for all religions, like Islam commands. She added that the problems in the blasphemy laws arose after General Ziaul Haq made a series of revisions and additions to them between 1982 and 1986. She concluded that there should be a single law ensuring respect for all religions in Pakistan.