52 murdered in 2 decades over blasphemy charges in Pak: report

Of these 52,25 were Muslims,15 were Christians,5 were Ahmadis,a Buddhist and a Hindu.

Written by Agencies | Islamabad | Published: September 8, 2012 5:22:50 pm

The stringent amendments in blasphemy laws that were introduced during General Zia-ul-Haq’s rule have resulted in an increase in communal clashes in Pakistan,and people in the country continue to suffer,a new report on blasphemy-related incidents in nation has revealed.

According to a report titled,‘Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan; Historical Overview’ launched on by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS),52 people were murdered extra-judicially after being implicated in blasphemy charges.

Of these 52,25 were Muslims,15 were Christians,five were Ahmadis,one a Buddhist and one a Hindu.

Speaking at the occasion of the launch of the report,Chairman of the Ulema Council of Pakistan,Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi,said that Rimsha Masih’s was a test case for state and society in Pakistan to divorce its religious persecution past,the Express Tribune reports.

Ashrafi alleged that the blasphemy laws were being abused by some powerful elements with religious and political backgrounds to achieve their own interests. Citing Rimsha’s case,he alleged that the accusation was aimed at forcing the Christian community to vacate the Mehrabadia area in order to create a religious seminary there,the paper said.

According to the paper,the CRSS report said the number of blasphemy-related incidents shot up during Zia’s rule,during which 80 cases were reported to the courts compared to only seven such cases reported during the British rule from 1851 to 1947.

One case cited in the report was that of Hafiz-e-Quran Dr Sajjad Farooq,who was beaten to death by religious vigilantes in Gujranwala on false blasphemy charges in April 1995,it added.

Another case cited in the report was that of seven people who were burnt alive and 18 others injured in Gojra in 2009 over the alleged descecration of the Holy Quran by a Christian community member,the report said.

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