Pakistan: Punjab Assembly resolution seeks most stringent anti-blasphemy laws, USCIRF condemns

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 03 Jan 2020

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Washington: The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Friday condemned the resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly in Pakistan which asked the federal government to make new or improve existing laws to sternly punish blasphemers and set up a Saudi Arabia like central screening or filtration system to intercept blasphemous material on social media.

"USCRIF condemns the resolution passed by the #Punjab Assembly in Pakistan seeking stricter enforcement of the country’s problematic #blasphemy law," USCIRF tweeted.

The resolution was presented in the Assembly on Tuesday by Mines Minister Ammar Yasir.

It said there existed anti-blasphemy laws in the country but they were not being enforced in letter and spirit, allowing some people to commit blasphemy in the garb of freedom of expression and hurt feelings of Muslims, reported Dawn News.

It said blasphemous content was available on social media and also in the international print and electronic media. Some importers too were importing books containing such material, hurting the feelings of Muslims not only in Pakistan but also abroad, reported the newspaper.

The case of Junaid Hafeez

Independent UN human rights experts condemned last Friday the death sentence of a university lecturer charged with blasphemy in Pakistan, calling the ruling "a travesty of justice".

Thirty-three-year-old Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, was sentenced to death – despite last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling in which Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi was tried and condemned to hang for blasphemy but was later acquitted.

"The Supreme Court ruling in the Asia Bibi case should have set a precedent for lower courts to dismiss any blasphemy case that has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt," the experts said.

UN experts condemn death sentence handed down by court in #Pakistan to university lecturer Junaid Hafeez, who had been charged with blasphemy.

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