‘Blasphemy law not to be repealed’

Published: November 24, 2010
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Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti says law may be amended.

Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti says law may be amended.

ISLAMABAD: The government will not repeal the blasphemy law but may amend it to prevent abuse because scrapping the legislation could fuel militancy, a government minister said on Tuesday.

The law came under the spotlight this month after a court sentenced a Christian mother of four, Aasia Bibi, to death in a case stemming from a village dispute.

Widespread media attention on the case has led to renewed appeals by human rights groups for the repeal of the law, but Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti said that would not happen.

“(Repeal) is not being considered though we are considering changing it so that misuse of the law can be stopped,” Bhatti told a news agency.

Blasphemy convictions are common although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal, but angry mobs have killed many people accused of blasphemy.

Bhatti said consultations with Islamic clerics and representatives of religious minorities on amending the law would soon be held.

He said repealing it is not being considered because that could provoke religious parties and militants who want to topple the government.

“We have to analyse what the reaction of those having intolerant attitudes will be,” Bhatti said. “At this point our aim is to stop its misuse.”

 

Bhatti said an initial inquiry into the case of the Christian mother suggested she had not committed blasphemy but was falsely accused after a quarrel.

Bibi, the first woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, has appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon her.

“It will take few more days. We are looking into different things, not just pardon. She could get relief from the courts,” Bhatti said. Authorities are providing Bibi with security in jail and her family has also moved for safety reasons, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Hamza Baloch
    Nov 24, 2010 - 9:54AM

    Only one point should be added, there should be a punishment if someone make a false accusations.

    Bhatti said an initial inquiry into the case of the Christian mother suggested she had not committed blasphemy but was falsely accused after a quarrel.

    :O
    this is just a media statment. nothing such things was said infront of court or police.Recommend

  • KM
    Nov 24, 2010 - 1:56PM

    The law should be to treat the one or the ones falsely accusing the convict with blasphemy, equally, as they themselves are indirectly conducting blasphemy by thinking like that, if the convict is innocent.Recommend

  • Disgusted
    Nov 24, 2010 - 3:29PM

    Quite presumptuous of us to think that we need to make laws to protect Islam & God. I think God be more pleased with Muslims if they turned the other cheek, forgave that person and moved on instead of them turning around and hanging people in his name…. something to think aboutRecommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 6:31PM

    May Allah swt forgive us for following unquestioningly Mullahs towards JahillyatRecommend

  • Anoop
    Nov 24, 2010 - 11:47PM

    “..because scrapping the legislation could fuel militancy..”

    Okay, so the Taliban and their ilk indirectly control what laws the Center passes or withdraws. The sad part is even the Courts cant scrap this law as it doesn’t go against the Constitution.Recommend

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