News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Pakistan flag banner.jpg
Pakistan-flag-new-thumb_galleryfull.jpg
World News

Increased fears among Christians in Pakistan as harsher blasphemy laws approved

by Tola Mbakwe

Ministers in Pakistan have voted to make the country’s controversial blasphemy laws more stringent, sparking alarm for religious minorities, including Christians.

This week, the National Assembly unanimously passed an amendment to the Criminal Laws Bill which increases punishment for insulting the Prophet Mohammed’s companions, wives, and family members from three years to ten years imprisonment, along with a £3,500 (1 million rupees) fine.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws criminalise anyone who insults Islam, with punishments including the death penalty and life imprisonment.

Christian persecution watchdog CSW said the laws are very loosely defined and have therefore been easily used against Muslims and non-Muslims as a “weapon of revenge” for situations such as disputes over money or land.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW is deeply concerned by the provisions in this Bill, which were approved without debate by Pakistan’s parliament despite the fact that existing blasphemy legislation has resulted in extra-judicial killings and countless incidents of mob violence based on false accusations.

“Policymakers have ignored the long-standing demands of civil society organisations and minority community leaders for the repeal of the blasphemy laws or at the very least the introduction of procedural amendments to curb the misuse of these laws.

“Pakistan must do more to protect its most vulnerable minority communities by upholding its international obligations and

guarantees enshrined within the country’s constitution, and the international community must hold the government to account for where it fails or refuses to do so.”

For many years, human rights and minority organisations in Pakistan have been calling for a U-turn of the nations’ blasphemy laws. In 2011 Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who was a prominent critic of the blasphemy laws, was killed by his bodyguard.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email

Connect

Donate

Donate