International conference slams Pakistan blasphemy law

“The EU needs to do more to highlight this issue which has got worse, not better," Casada said.

Islamabad: A recently held international conference has concluded that the blasphemy law in Pakistan is used in the country for abuse and harassment on the minorities.

But, despite such concerns, the European Union is “failing to help” victims and pressure must be put on Pakistan to repeal its laws.

The conference on Pakistan’s highly controversial and widely condemned blasphemy laws, took place under the auspices of the Alliance internationale pour la défense des droits et des libertés, reports The Geneva Daily.

Opening the debate, Paulo Casada, a former MEP, founder and executive director of the South Asia Democratic Forum, was quoted as saying by the news portal: “This is a very important topic and one we have been dealing with for a long time. People are being accused of blasphemy without any foundation at all. This results from attacks on lawyers and the quite fanatical and absurd atmosphere in the country.

“The EU needs to do more to highlight this issue which has got worse, not better," Casada said.

Jürgen Klute, former MEP and a Christian theologian, said: “I think Christianity and Islam have a lot in common: the belief that you have to appear in front of divine judgement at the end of your time so we must strongly argue against these blasphemy laws. How can a human being decide or estimate what a blasphemy is? You have to leave such decisions to your God. We can argue against these laws on human rights grounds and also religious grounds.”

Manel Msalmi, international affairs Advisor of MEPs of the European Peoples’ Party in the European Parliament, said: “The parliament and significantly the commission and council have each condemned persecution in Pakistan.Hundreds have been charged under these laws which seek to limit speech which could be seen as offensive. These laws have always been a problem but the situation has got worse. It is important to note that such laws are being used against religious minorities in states like Pakistan. Such attacks are also common online particularly against journalists. Pakistan has even called for the introduction of such laws in other Muslim countries with a boycott of states where blasphemy happens. This practice goes hand in hand with targeting religious groups. Human rights are being abused in Pakistan.”

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