ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian lawyers: "The blasphemy law has to be abolished"

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - Tension remains high in the neighborhood of Sanda, in Lahore, the scene of anti-Christian violence carried out on Sunday 24 May. After a case of alleged blasphemy (of which a Christian is accused), the crowd tried to take justice into their own and, instigated by a local imam, turned their anger against Christian homes. The police tried to avoid the violence, also using tear gas. In the collision a police officer was slightly injured.
Today Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, human rights lawyer, visited the affected areas and met some of the residents. "They are terrified and scared" he tells Fides. "It has become difficult for Christians to live with Muslims, especially when the blasphemy law is abused. We ask the international community to help bring its abolition in Pakistan".
The incident happened nearly two months after the suicide attack on two churches in the Christian area of Youhanabad, where people live in a climate of fear. Nasir Saeed, Director of the NGO CLAAS, says in a statement sent to Fides: "No one should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. Mass attacks against entire communities show that hate against Christians is growing. The blasphemy law is widely used for revenge, but the government has not yet managed to take steps to stop the misuse of the law and ensure security for Christians. If those responsible are not punished, those who attack with impunity Christian neighborhoods and churches are encouraged". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/05/2015)