Amendment in blasphemy laws may increase fear of persecution of minorities: Pakistan Human Rights Organization

WorldAmendment in blasphemy laws may increase fear of persecution of minorities: Pakistan...
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Pakistan’s top human rights body has expressed deep concern over amendments to the country’s controversial blasphemy laws, saying it is expected to increase persecution of religious minorities and minority sects.

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Pakistan’s National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2023, increasing the minimum punishment from three to 10 years for those who insult Islamic religious figures, as well as a fine of Rs 10 lakh. Is.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairperson Hina Jilani said in a statement issued from Lahore on Friday that the enactment would further increase the persecution of minorities.

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According to their statement, “The stated purpose of this bill is to curb sectarianism, but the HRCP believes it may increase persecution of Pakistan’s endangered religious minorities and minority communities.”

The HRCP said the Bill also makes the offense non-bailable, thereby directly violating the constitutional right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 9.

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“Given the poor record of misuse of such laws in Pakistan, these amendments are likely to be used as a weapon against religious minorities and sects, resulting in false FIRs, harassment and atrocities against them,” the statement said. ”

The human rights body said increasing the penalty for alleged blasphemy would lead to misuse of the law under the guise of personal vendetta, as is often the case with blasphemy allegations.

“At a time when the civil society is demanding amendments to these laws to prevent misuse, making them more stringent will have the exact opposite effect,” the statement said.

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