CLAAS Press Release
18 April 2017
CLAAS welcomes Pakistani Parliament’s calls for reform of blasphemy laws after student’s killing
CLAAS has welcomed calls from the Pakistani Parliament to reform the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.
It comes after a university student was killed by a mob on April 14 after being accused of the offence which carries the death penalty for insulting Islam.
A resolution passed by the National Assembly condemned the lynching and stated that safeguards must be included in the law to stop it being abused in the future.
Pakistan’s top court is investigating the murder of the student from Abdul Wali Khan University in north-western Pakistan, allegedly for his views on sufi Islam and socialism.
The blasphemy laws are a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, and vigilantes often take the law into their own hands and kill people accused of blasphemy.
The student was brutally beaten to death over allegations he promoted ‘blasphemous’ content on social media.
Another student was injured in the incident which took place on the university premises, prompting officials to close the campus.
According to reports, a total of 45 people have been detained in connection with the mob attack.
Nasir Saeed Director CLAAS-UK has welcomed the parliament’s resolution regarding introducing safeguards to stop the misuse of the blasphemy law, and to prevent the ongoing killing of innocent people.
“It is great news as in the past whoever tried to speak about changes in the blasphemy law was shut up and even threatened with death.
“Those who raised their voices, like Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and minority minister Shahbaz Bhatti, were killed in broad daylight, and their killers hailed as heroes.”
He further said it is encouraging that parliamentarian has agreed to stop the ongoing misuse of the blasphemy law and hopes it will stick to its word and give the matter priority.
“I wish the Pakistani parliament had taken this step and realised the sensitivity of the issue earlier, saving many innocent people who were killed for a crime they never committed. Their lives could have been saved, but it is still not too late.