Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Punjab Minority Wing head Pervez Rafique on Sunday said the government and political and religious parties should take steps to ensure protection of innocent people from religious minorities.
In a statement, Rafique said a bill should be tabled in the parliament to stop misuse of blasphemy laws.
He said religious and political parties and the civil society agreed that the law was being misused and was a constant threat to communal peace.
Rafique said most Christian leaders had criticised the steps the government had taken in this regard so far.
“Everything the government has done so far has fallen short of addressing the problem,” he said.
Rafique, who is president of All Pakistan Minority Alliance as well as the Peoples Alliance for Christian Empowerment, said the government would have to protect minorities and promote religious harmony to save the country. He said constitutional biases should be removed and discriminatory laws should be scrapped.
“Nothing can save the image of Pakistan until concrete steps are taken to safeguard rights of all minorities in the country,” he said.
Rafique said the government should have appointed the interior minister as the focal person to pursue the case.
“When the state became plaintiff in the case, it was a commendable step,” he said. “But why select Kamran Michael to pursue the matter when it is a matter of safety and security of citizens of Pakistan?”
He said choosing Michael for the job was a quick-fix solution of the government.
He said the government should form a judicial commission and probe all cases of alleged blasphemy pending in courts.
Rafique appealed to the international community to play its role to save minority citizens in Pakistan.
He said making Pakistan a secular, progressive republic was the vision of its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
He said people of the country should unite to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all citizens.
Rafique said Christian citizens condemned the brutal attack on the couple in Kot Radha Kishan.
“Their tragic deaths are shameful for Pakistan and a clear message to non-Muslims that their lives are seen as disposable,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2014.