Scottish Human Rights Organization Calls for Pakistani President to End Misuse of Blasphemy Laws

Glasgow, Scotland — A human rights organization in Scotland is calling upon Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to end what it believes is a misuse of the country’s blasphemy laws or face worldwide protests.

Sheraz Khan, the chief executive of Global Minorities Alliance, recently released an open letter to the president, asking him to step in and protect Christians and other religious groups in the country.

“We are profoundly concerned over the growing religious intolerance and extremism in Pakistan,” Khan wrote. “The continuous misuse of Pakistan blasphemy laws is a cause of serious concern for us because it has impaired interfaith and communal relations between various communities of Pakistan.”

It pointed to the recent incident in Pakistan where a militant Muslim mob torched dozens of homes and demanded that a Christian man be arrested after allegedly speaking against Mohammad. As previously reported, officers came and took Sawan Masih into custody after the mob swarmed his home. It then returned the following day to take vengeance on Masih’s neighborhood.

“They have burnt each and every thing in my whole house. Nothing is left here. I don’t know why this happened,” Samina Riaz told the Associated Press. “Now we don’t have even enough to eat.”

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the violence.

“The attack is yet another shameful incident against a vulnerable community and further confirmation of the slide toward extremism in society on the one hand and, on the other hand, the apathy and inaction that has become the norm among the police,” it stated.

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Global Minorities Alliance noted in its letter to Zardari that it staged a protest on April 8th in opposition to the attack.

“We urge you to let us know in writing steps Pakistan government has taken since March 9 violence to avoid possible future misuse of Pakistan blasphemy laws,” it requested.

The organization also requested release of prisoners who are wrongfully charged under the law.

“We urge you to give presidential clemency to Aasia bibi, Christian mother of five on death row in Pakistan.” it stated.

Khan advised that if Zardari does not take action to intervene it what it believes are human rights violations, he will organize further protests around the world.

“We will stage protest demonstrations not only outside the Scottish Parliament but also outside the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the Houses of Parliament in London and outside the United Nations office in Geneva in Switzerland if we did not hear from you in writing until the 7th of July 2013,” the letter stated.

According to reports, there are currently 16 people on death row in the country and another 20 have been sentenced to life in prison for blasphemous speech.


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