02 Oct 2022 00:00:00 AM Breaking News
Christian man beaten and threatened with death if he does not convert to IslamChristian woman went underground after being threatened with death if she didn’t convert to IslamChristian parents concerned about missing daughter Christians regain possession of the adjoining property of the ChurchThree Pakistani Christians accused of blasphemy granted bail.Hindu man arrested in Pakistan over alleged blasphemyJAC defends the vilification of CSOs especially Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Pakistani Court’s Outrageous Ruling says 12-Year-Old Christian Girl Must Stay Married to 40-year-old and already Married Muslim AbductorForeign minister proposes constitution of ‘Oversight Committee’ to resolve issues Pakistani’s minoritiesTerrorists attack Christians in Mustang Pakistan: Christians fled their homes when Muslim mob gathers to attack themKidnapped 12-year-old Christian girl, recovered and reunited with her family Christian man sentenced to death for blasphemyPakistani Prime Minister approves formation of a task force to look after the implementation of minority rightsChristian woman loses three month pregnancy during attempted rapeHigh court grants bail to a mentally ill man accused of blasphemyInfluential landlords want to seize the Christian cemeteryChristian father-of-five killed and another critically injured in Punjab, Pakistan Pakistan: Punjab Government bans adverts for Christian-only condition for sweepers’ jobs 14-year-old Christian girl kidnapped on the way to school Fact-finding report on minority rights launchedI want to move back to Pakistan if I am given equal citizenship rightsOne dead and another injured after shootingBrave Christian girl thwarts kidnapping attempts Christian cousins survive being shot by their neighboursPakistani Christians mark 24th anniversary of Bishop John Joseph’s deathChristian human rights activist and journalist receives death threats Christian organisation demands ban on National Single Curriculum in Pakistan Christian man kidnaped at gunpoint from outside courtThieves vandalise church in Karachi Pakistan: Police officer insulted and his job threatened because of his Christian faithFour suspects, including two teenage girls, arrested after woman murdered for alleged blasphemyPolice fail to recover two teenage Christian girls kidnapped in Karachi Pakistan: Muslim man climbs over 40 ft high church cross and starts shouting “Allahu AkbarThe role of police and judiciary is biased in cases of forced conversion, report finds Islamabad High Court sets marriage age limit at 18Election commission of Pakistan replaces word Easi with Masihi Christian woman kidnapped from Narang District SheikhupuraChristian man murdered by mob despite police presence Violent mob kills man accused of desecrating the Holy Quran in Khanewal Participatory Welfare Services hosts interfaith harmony dialogueHindu teacher sentenced to life in jail over blasphemy allegation Gunmen killed Christian priest, wound another in Peshawar, PakistanPolice shot three innocent Christian teenagers in KarachiIslamabad High Court issues notice to the government ministers on discriminatory job advertPakistani Christian mother concerned about the safety of her abducted daughterPakistan's court sentences Christian to death on blasphemy charges.Hindu temple vandalised in PakistanPakistani minorities protest against forced religious conversionRights groups urge Pakistani authorities to redefine blasphemy, and reform legislation to prevent the misuse of blasphemy laws13 people arrested for burning a disabled man aliveUS assessment of religious freedom in Pakistan is biasedChristian victim of blasphemy law acquitted after 10 years in jailA Pakistani Christian girl bravely escaped her abductors Pakistan minorities protest in Islamabad against rejection of forced conversion billLand mafia and police torture Christians in Mehran town, Karachi, to seize their land Minimum age for marriage not against Islam, court rules Pakistan’s parliamentary committee rejects anti-forced conversion billPakistan: High court rules non-Muslim children as young as 10 can convert to IslamSpecial police force created for the protection of minoritiesNGOs urge the EU to act over human rights abuses in Pakistan Husband throws hot water over the woman who converted to Islam to marry himChristian mother of four kidnaped on her way to homeCross removed from Church in Pakistan during the dedication.Anti-forced conversion bill draws concern from clerics Pakistan: Another Christian woman accused of blasphemy for forwarding a text UN designates day to commemorate victims of acts of violence based on religion Two Christian girls kidnapped at gunpoint outside their house Minor Christian girl forcibly converted to Islam recovered from kidnapper and sent to shelter homeNational Assembly passes unanimous resolution condemning attack on Hindu temple Another Christian girl kidnapped and converted to IslamPakistan’s blasphemy laws equated to ethnic cleansing, conference hears Quran now a compulsory in Punjab’s schools and collegesHindu woman should be returned to her parents after alleged forced marriage, court rulesPakistan court allows 2nd marriage of Christian man in Pakistan EU calls on Pakistan to intervene in release of blasphemy accusedReligious affairs ministry says religious conversion before 18 should be allowedPakistan: Christian girl raped at schoolAnother Christian Minor Girl Sent with her Abductor by the Pakistan High CourtPakistan: Muslim Doctor forcefully converts 13-year-old Christian girl to work in kitchenPakistani Supreme Court nationalises Christian college Christian couple acquitted of blasphemy charges Pakistani court send minor Christian girl with her abductor Bill before Sindh assembly calls for all 18-year-olds to be marriedTolerant majority needs to take charge of ending religious discrimination, retired Justice says Pakistan: Christian mother of five abducted and severely abusedChristian mother concerned her abducted daughter may be sold if not recovered soon Muslim nurses took over a chapel and threatened to convert it to a mosqueEU concerned over Pakistan’s rising blasphemy casesPakistan retained as country of particular concern in USCIRF report Sindh Assembly passes resolution condemning blasphemous caricaturesImran Khan says insulting Mohammed should be same as denying HolocaustTwo Pakistani Christian nurses charged with blasphemy offencesMother of kidnapped 13-year-old accuses police of not finding her daughter Pakistan: CDA demolishes church in Islamabad during LentPakistan: Petition filed to make the death penalty the only punishment for blasphemy in the Pakistan Penal CodePakistan: Police force pastor and congregation to shut down Church Christian man granted bail after blasphemy accusations Christian Family attacked by a Muslim land grabber Protests erupt after inmate charged with blasphemyJudge issued certificate needed for religious conversion, parliamentary committee proposesPrime Minister’s aide says there is no concept of forced conversion in PakistanTwo Christians charged under blasphemy law for distributing Christian literature Sentence of 5-10 years’ jail being considered for those involved in forced conversionCommittee rejects Protection of the Rights of Religious Minorities (PRRM) Bill Pakistan: Christian staff nurse and gospel singer accused of committing blasphemy Christian father begging police to help get his daughter backChristian girl threatens to burn herself if she doesn’t get justice Pakistan: Woman kills her husband and two daughters Two Christian sisters martyred for not converting to IslamThree Christians charged with blasphemy on Christmas DayA Christian man charged with blasphemy acquitted after 11 years Pakistan rejects US designation on religious freedom blacklistMuslim man shoots Christian woman dead for refusing to marry himPoliceman told Christian father to be happy for his daughter’s conversion to Islam instead of registering a case against the kidnapper Supreme Country unhappy over reconstitution of minorities’ commissionPakistan: Christian family foil attempt to kidnap their daughter Pakistani Senate panel to hold sessions on forced conversion in SindhMuslim man wants to forcefully marry Christian girlBill for minorities rejected by senate panelAnother Pakistani Christian woman escapes her kidnapperChristian hospital cleaner accused of stealing 2.2 million rupees worth of medicinePrime Minister Imran Khan calls for rapists to be hanged publicly PML-N demands public execution of those convicted in child sex abuse cases Man calling himself Jesus charged under the blasphemy law Pakistani Christian man sentenced to death for 'blasphemous texts'Christian mother and son 11 arrested after allegedly stealing gold and cash from employer’s house Police arrest Christian man accused of blasphemyPakistani Christian leaders condemn Quran burning in Sweden Pakistan: Annual pilgrimage at national Marian shrine in Mariamabad cancelledHuman Rights Watch asks Imran Khan to amend the blasphemy law Minor marriages and their conversion is an important issue, CII chairman saysNew curriculum to be implemented next year for grade one to fiveChristian domestic servant beaten for not converting to IslamPakistani Christian mother killed by police officerYoung Christian factory worker killed by his Muslim colleagueComplaints lodged against Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed for committing blasphemyGovernor of Punjab announces opening of Mariamabad as tourist sitePakistan’s National Assembly adopts resolution for adding Quaid-e-Azam’s speech to syllabusOn National Minorities Day, President Alvi says minorities will be treated equally Pakistan National Assembly Unanimously Passes Resolution to Write Khatamun Nabiyyin With Hazrat Muhammad (SAW)Pakistani minorities mark National Minority Day with mixed feelingsPakistan’s Punjab Assembly passes resolution on Quaid’s Aug 11 speechPakistani legislators oppose bill they passed three weeks agoPakistani court sparks outrage by ruling Christian girl, 14, must stay married to alleged abductorPakistani Christian man charged with blasphemyUSCIRF outraged at courtroom killing of US citizen in Pakistan over blasphemy chargesMan accused of blasphemy In Pakistan shot dead at courtPakistan: Punjab govt asked to set minimum age of marriage for girls at 18Punjab Assembly passes bill allowing inspection of printing presses and confiscation of any publicationShould minorities leave Pakistan?Blasphemy complaint against opposition politician for saying ‘all religions are equalPakistan’s National Assembly adopts resolution for teaching Holy Quran with translation in universitiesPope 'saddened' as Hagia Sophia reverts to mosqueCouncil of Islamic Ideology in Pakistan will consider whether public funds can be used to build a Hindu templePakistani Christian man shot dead by neighbour for buying house in Muslim dominated areaIslamic seminary issues Fatwa against construction of Hindu Temple in IslamabadUniversity professor arrested under Blasphemy accusationMuslims attack a church and desecrate the Cross in PakistanChristian mother complains to Police about her daughter's abductionPakistani Minister calls for those who Blaspheme against Muhammad to beheadedHuman rights situation in Pakistan "Grealty worrisome”Pakistani Governor makes Quran teaching with translation compulsory in Punjab University
By Nasir Saeed

OP-ED

Shahbaz Bhatti's unfinished mission


On 2 March, the Christian community in Pakistan and around the world marked the 11th anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti's murder.

The former minorities minister was cruelly shot dead in Islamabad simply for demanding changes to Pakistan's blasphemy laws - the root cause of suffering for the country's Christians and other religious minorities.

But after 11 years, the laws still exist and continue to claim the lives of innocent people.

Recently, a violent mob brutally killed a middle-aged man, Mushtaq Ahmed, after accusing him of burning pages of the Koran. The mob tied him to a tree and stoned him to death in the presence of police in Tulumba, Khanewal district.

In December, a Sri Lankan man was tortured, killed and then set on fire after being accused of blasphemy for tearing down some posters bearing words from the Koran.

Last year, at least six Christian nurses and several other Christians and Muslims at a hospital in Lahore were charged with blasphemy. Muslim nurses and other members of staff at the hospital took control of a local church, desecrated it and even demanded that it be converted into a mosque.

Yet nobody has been held accountable for these heinous crimes and all this time, the blasphemy law continues to hang like a sword over the heads of Christians.

It is a sword that can fall at any time and when it does, the consequences are devastating, with victims sometimes having to spend up to 10 years trying to prove their innocence. In Pakistan's exhausting court system, cases are dragged out year after year as judges avoid taking the cases for fear the extremists. All the while, the poor victim is locked up in prison for years. Even if the courts eventually declare someone innocent, they are at risk of being killed either in jail or following their release.

Sadly, the climate in Pakistan is such that the perpetrators not only proudly admit killing the supposed 'blasphemer', but even claim to have performed their religious duty under Islam.

These people are not only glorified for their misdeeds but raised to the status of Ghazi (a Muslim who has successfully struggled against non-Muslims).

For decades, blasphemy laws have been used as a tool by extremists, and even some of the wider Muslim community, to settle personal grudges or seize the possessions of Christians, such as property or businesses.

In September 2013, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) declared that falsely accusing someone of blasphemy was "totally non-Islamic in nature and is also equivalent to blasphemy". At the time, CII member Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said the declaration would ensure "nobody dares to use religion to settle personal scores," and "will also silence critics of the blasphemy laws".

But since then, people have continued to use the blasphemy laws for their personal gain and neither the CII nor the Pakistani government has been able to stop this. If anything, successive Pakistani governments have bowed down in front of the religious extremists and simply made excuses for their inaction.
Such an attitude from the authorities not only encourages perpetrators to take the law into their own hands; it strengthens the conviction of extremists that they are doing what is right and that they are true Muslims.

As such, the law continues to ruin the lives of innocent people. All minorities are affected but Christians continue to be the principal targets, with some extrajudicially killed, churches attacked, and several villages and towns burnt to the ground.

There is widespread concern that mob lynching and violence associated with alleged blasphemy may escalate. Just a few weeks ago, a police station and police vehicles in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were set on fire after officers refused to hand over a person accused of blasphemy to the mob.

Religious minorities and especially Christians live under constant fear for their lives. Bhatti was well aware of this and wanted to create a Pakistan where all people could live without fear, but his killer didn't let this happen.

The murder of Bhatti – and also former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who was assassinated after defending Christian mother Asia Bibi – terrified blasphemy critics into a long silence. But the recent brutal killings have forced people to once against speak out against the tyranny of the blasphemy laws.

The extremists may have silenced Bhatti and Taseer but many more will continue to speak out. The campaigns for reform will continue to be led by brave Christians and human rights activists, even knowing that they may have to pay with their lives.

The spirit of Bhatti still lives, not only within the Pakistani Christian community but around the world. We were reminded of this by the many in Pakistan who lit a candle in his memory on the 11th anniversary of his death. They are determined as ever to fulfil Bhatti's unfinished mission of equal rights for Christians and an end to the discriminatory policies and laws that have brought so much suffering to Pakistan's Christians and religious minorities.

Courtesy: Christian Today