Zardari’s call for checks on blasphemy laws are just empty words
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK has termed Asif Ali Zardari’s, the Ex-President of Pakistan and Co-Chair of Pakistan People’s Party’s, statement about appealing to religious scholars to deliberate to find a way for checking the misuse of the blasphemy law against minorities, as nothing but an anecdote.
He said that after five years in power and the death of his two senior ministers who called for changes to the laws, such a statement – particularly on Easter Sunday – only served to rub salt in Christians’ wounds, playing with their emotions.
Mr. Saeed said: “Blasphemy laws are considered a root cause of Christian’s persecution. The practise has persisted for decades and minorities feel very insecure as the Pakistani government has failed to stop the ongoing persecution and to provide justice. Christians have no option but to flee the country.
“All Pakistani Governments have failed to address these issues and take them seriously, even failing to bring to justice those who have been involved in attacking churches, burning Christians’ houses and killing innocent Christians.”
The ongoing misuse of the blasphemy laws and increasing practice of forced conversion are serious matters faced by minorities. Pakistan is a member of the Commonwealth, UNO, and has signed and ratified several international treaties which the blasphemy laws are in breach of.
Because of the Pakistani government inactions, Christians have reached out to the international community and the situation has been discussed several times in the House of Commons, and now the British Prime Minister has assured the members of the parliament that he will raise the issue of the misuse of the blasphemy law with the Pakistani Prime minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif in his forthcoming meeting on 29th April.
Mr Saeed said it is embarrassing that those matters which are not being discussed in Pakistani parliament are being discussed in the UK parliament, and that the protection that is supposed to have been provided by the Pakistani Prime Minister to minorities, is instead being safeguarded by the Mr Cameron.
He concluded: “ A very clear message is being sent to the world about how minorities are being treated, and how unprotected their rights, properties and lives are in Pakistan. All of the statements and claims that are issued by the Pakistani government and politicians, from time to time, about how minorities are enjoying equal rights and are safe, are proving to be false.
“Mr Zardari did nothing while he was in power to protect minorities, and his concern now cannot be taken seriously.”