New Amendments in Act 2016 fall short to satisfy Christians
10 Feb 2017
Karachi: February 10, 2017. (PCP) Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC said in a statement issued by Central Secretariat of PCC that Criminal Laws (Amendment) Act 2016, passed by National Assembly of Pakistan fails to satisfy 20 million Pakistani Christians.
“Government claims after passing neither this bill that it will end sectarianism and stop persecution of minorities is not true because this bill not covers harsh punishment for those Muslims who falsely accuse Christians of blasphemy” said Nazir Bhatti
PCC Chief said that Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) 1860; the Police Act 1861; the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898; the Qanoon-i-Shahadat 1984 and Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 were already in books with minimum punishment but government never practiced it but with this amendment in these Acts will not make any difference because Muslim administration will not act against Muslim violators to protect religious minorities.
The bill’s statement of objects and reasons says that “terrorism, sectarianism and extremism have gripped the entire country and these acts have become the order of the day. The country is passing through an extraordinary situation, which requires stringent measures to be taken to curb this menace that has infiltrated society.”
The bill was moved by parliamentary secretary Rana Mohammad Afzal on behalf of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan after Speaker Ayaz Sadiq turned down requests of opposition members to send it to the concerned committee.
Meanwhile, Mr. Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association is not convinced by this new laws will have any teeth, according to BPCA press release
The new law also imposes a sentence of up to 10 years and no less than five years and a fine of up to Rs1 million in the case of an underage girl as defined in the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1992, or a non-Muslim woman.