Would EU Resolution be helpful for protection 0f Christian and repeal of Blasphemy laws in Pakistan. By Sardar Mushtaq Gill

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It is reality that over the past some years there has been an alarming surge in the accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan. Even within the days of pandemic, many of these accusations targeted individuals particularly Christians the most marginalized sect in society. It has been seen that the whole country suffered due to so called ego of religious sentiments called blasphemy.

Last month in whole Pakistan, gun shots, sirens, fire and violent clashes looked like Pakistani were living in a war zone. Everywhere fear and death made insecure marginalized religious minorities sects particularly. Clashes flared up when Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan leader Saad Rizvi was arrested who earlier threatened Imran Khan's government with protests over expulsion of France’s ambassador from Pakistan. Finally yielding to Islamists’ demands, Pakistan decided to introduce a resolution in Parliament to expel the French ambassador and quashed all criminal cases registered against the banned radical Islamist party TLP. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, rather than said something to defend Pakistan citizens' human rights against false accusers, he equated denial of the Holocaust and genocide to criticism of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Then the positive step was taken by member states of the EU. The European Parliament called on the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to immediately review Pakistan’s eligibility for GSP+ status in the light of current situation and whether there is sufficient reason to initiate a procedure for the temporary withdrawal of this status and the benefits that come with it, and to report to the European Parliament on this matter as soon as possible, according to the resolution. The question is this resolution would be helpful for Christian who are being persecuted in Pakistan. The answer is there is no other way how to request Pakistan to repeal blasphemy laws which is a deadly weapon in the hands of blood thirsty revengers in the name of Islam.

There is one recent incident that happened at a mental Hospital situated beside Services Hospital on Jail Road in Lahore which was established in the British era and patients with mental illnesses are being brought here from far and near Punjab for mental treatment. There is also a church inside the hospital where the Christian community, including the Christian hospital staff worships every Sunday. The church was occupied by Muslim nurses at the hospital on Tuesday 3rd May. The Muslims nurses claimed that they occupied Church for justification of an objectionable video released from France. Occupying Muslims nurses threatened and forced Christian nurses to accept Islam and demanded that the church must be demolished and Christian staff would not be allowed to worship at the hospital. And if they would not convert to Islam and to stop to Christian worship at the hospital, the blasphemy charges would be filed against Christian members. In view of the existing tensions, a committee consisting of senior doctors and members of the Punjab administration was formed and the matter was settled without taking any legal action against the Muslims nurses. This incident shows that Pakistani Government is helpless to handle the Islamists who are continually harassing Christians in Pakistan in the name of religion. Even the Christian leadership is under fear of persecution and gives statements to make happy Pakistani authority that Christians are safe in Pakistan where Islamists are wandering to hijack even Government authorities.

Reportedly last year in August 2020, during Pandemic, at least 42 cases concerning to blasphemy were registered across Pakistan in a single month. Most of those accused of blasphemy related to the Shia sect of Islam and were booked under sections 295-A and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly insulting the companions of Muhammad, including a Christian man namely David, was arrested in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Nowshera under the accusation of desecrating the Quran, the Islamic holy book Quran on August 30. Then in September 2020, a Session court Judge in Lahore, sentenced another Christian man, Asif Pervaiz, to death for sending "blasphemous" messages to his former supervisor in a factory where they were working and he was arrested in 2013 under blasphemy charges.

On December 12, 2020, Nadeem Samson’s lawyer, Asad Jamal, was supposed to file the bail petition to the Lahore High Court for his release on bail. Instead, he withdrew the petition for bail. Three weeks later, Shakeel Anjum stated Jamal told him the court had rejected the request for bail. Mostly in such cases, lawyers paid by human rights organizations never prefer to get release the blasphemy accused on bail due to fear of attack by Islamist during trial.  On November 24, 2017, a man named Abdul Haq complained to Pakistani police that Nadeem Samson had created a fake Facebook account where he allegedly posted blasphemous material. Police arrested him and tortured him to admit the crime. He has been suffering in jail since 2017 and it is requested that the voices must be raised for justice and his release from jail.

In this year, in January 2021, a Christian staff nurse and gospel singer in Karachi, Pakistan was forced to go into hiding after she was accused of committing blasphemy by hospital colleagues. In February 2021, two Christian men Haroon Masih and Salamat Masih were arrested under accusations of blasphemy for preaching the Gospel to young Muslims in Lahore. Muslim student Haroon Ahmad filed complaint on February 13, 2021 against Haroon Masih and Salamat Masih accusing them of insulting Islam. In April, two Christian nurses were rescued by policemen from an enraged Muslim mob after being accused of blasphemy by their hospital’s staff in Pakistan. One Staff nurse Mariam Lal and other staff student nurse Mewish Urooj were detained by police after a blasphemy case under section 295-B of the blasphemy law was made by Dr. Mirza Muhammad Ali of Civil Hospital, Faisalabad.

The role of the EU and other western countries is extremely important to address the issues relating to religious freedom, human rights, and other humanitarian crises of peace, food, health and refugees including their permanent protection. These are those crises which much affect the marginalized sections of any society. In Pakistan, Christians are the most marginalized and defenseless community due to their poor treatment in Islamist society where religion is considered too sensitive to talk and the concept of religious freedom is totally ignored to practice. The matter of Christian persecution and their permanent protection is extremely important to address as they are being targeted by the Islamists who are against the western policies concerning to Islamic world. Those Islamists in revenge target Christians and abuse blasphemy laws to harm them. These blasphemy laws must be abolished at any cost because its future effects could be reached in other nations too if the steps of restraining will not be taken by the world authorities.

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On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com