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Pakistan Court Reexamines Charges of Blasphemy Against Islam


Fides Agency - published on 02/13/15 - updated on 06/07/17

50 accused are termed "victims of the complainants."

Lahore — The judiciary in Punjab, Pakistan, in collaboration with the police and with the government of the province, has compiled a list of 50 cases of people currently on trial for blasphemy, defined as "victims of the complainants," thus indicating the groundlessness of the charges.

The cases were chosen among the 262 blasphemy trials pending in different courts in Punjab, from 2010 to today. The persons accused, some of whom belong to religious minorities, are in prison and trials have not started for various reasons: lack of evidence, the absence or unavailability of lawyers, even for the economic conditions of the defendants or because of insanity.

A special committee, led by the Secretary of the Attorney General of Punjab, Rana Maqbool, met in recent days to discuss "special modalities" for a quick trial that can ensure the acquittal, release and maximum security of the accused.

Among the hypotheses is that the government in Punjab will present itself as "plaintiff" in trials, taking on itself the defense of the alleged blasphemous. 

This step and this approach "is a ray of hope for those who are falsely accused of blasphemy," said Human Rights Watch in a note sent to Fides. According to Christian activists in Pakistan, "it is very positive that institutions such as the judiciary and the government recognize the abuse of the blasphemy law and seek a quick way to solve the cases of victims of injustice."

Apparently, the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of two who is on death row for blasphemy, is not among the 50 cases being reconsidered.

PakistanReligious Freedom
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