Today April 15, 2014 a motion concerning the blasphemy laws in Pakistan was passed unanimously in Italian regional council of Marche. The motion was presented by Letizia Bellabarba and her colleagues. Letizia Bellabarba, Regional Councillor Democratic Party asked the Italian government to intervene with the Pakistani Government and ask for the abolition of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Following is the note from the councilor about the situation in Pakistan.
“Blasphemy law provides death penalty in Pakistan for those who fail to respect the Prophet Muhammad but it is often used for private purposes crushing in particular the religious minorities in Pakistan.
Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are a fundamental right of every individual: we can not remain indifferent. Because of this dark law the former governor of Punjab Salmon Taseer was assassinated on January 4, 2011 at the hands of Islamic extremists; for similar reasons the former minister for religious affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, was assassinated as well on March 2, 2011. The blasphemy law is often used as a tool to take revenge for personal grudges.
85% of the cases are false; Sawan Masih is one of the latest victims of this law sentenced to death for unjust accusations of blasphemy. An entire Christian village was burned by an angry mob of Muslims to revenge the blasphemy of Sawan Masih. Asia bibi, Shagufta and Shafqat Emmanuel are just some of those who are unjustly detained on whom death sentence for blasphemy weighs heavily.
Adan Farhaj the President of Federation of Pakistani Christian Associations asked for our political support for the repeal of these blasphemy laws. I ask the Italian government to intervene and ask the Pakistani government to repeal these dark laws in Pakistan. Every nation should raise their voice against these injustices and insist that the Pakistani government release the imprisoned innocent and call for the abolition of this unjust law that stifles the essence of freedom.”
When asked Adan Farhaj President FPCA and Overseas Coordinator for All Pakistan Christian League about his views about the the motion signed by the regional council he said, “I am very happy and honored that Letizia Bellabarba and the regional council of Marche has taken a concrete step towards abuse of the blasphemy laws and the plights of the religious minorities in Pakistan.
Certainly the misuse of the blasphemy law arouses in us all, on an emotional level: pain, fear and consternation and on a rational level the need to take concrete actions to return to the vision of our founding father which was a free land for all. I want Pakistan to be the symbol of peaceful coexistence between religions.
We need to have dialogue bringing the attention of the international community towards the issue of religious discrimination and blasphemy laws to build a more concise and concrete solution.”