Playing with the fire in Pakistan. By SHAMIM MASIH

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Pakistan's blasphemy laws may be used to punish Muslims suspected of ransacking a Hindu temple, an intriguing twist for a country where harsh laws governing religious insults are primarily used against supposed offenses to Islam, not minority faiths.
The blasphemy laws, sections of which carry the death penalty or life imprisonment, have drawn renewed international scrutiny this year after a young Christian girl in Islamabad was alleged to have desecrated the Muslim holy book, the Quran. A Muslim cleric now stands accused of fabricating evidence against the girl, who has been freed on bail and whose mental capacity has been questioned. Then again the situation changed the witness turned back, and now the case is open again.
Human rights activists say Pakistan's blasphemy laws are too broad and vague, and are often used by people who are trying to settle scores with rivals or target religious minorities, who make up 5 percent of Pakistan's 180 million people.
Pakistan is not known to have actually executed anyone for blasphemy, and while courts often set the accused free on technical grounds or other reasons, many extremists have killed people who were let go by judges.
Even speaking out against the blasphemy laws can put people in danger. Two prominent politicians, including the sole Christian member of the federal Cabinet, were assassinated in 2011 for urging reform of the law.
The politicians, Punjab province Gov. Salmaan Taseer and Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, had spoken out in defense of Asia Bibi, a Christian sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Asia bibi, whose case prompted international criticism, is believed to be the first woman condemned to die under the statute and remains in prison.
The laws retain broad support in Pakistan, where Islamic conservatism is on the rise alongside extremism and Muslims are highly sensitive about their faith. Taseer's killer, for instance, was hailed as a hero in many quarters. Thousands of people rallied to support him, and even lawyers showered him with rose petals, how pathetic is the situation?
Many human rights activists, partly out of their own security concerns, have tempered their demands: years ago, they used to call for the blasphemy laws' revisit, but now they say the laws should be reformed to prevent misuse. Even leaders of minority religious groups have often said they support the law but simply do not want to see it abused.
Although there's no sign that the weak civilian government plans to amend the law, the case of the Christian girl has brought some hope that sentiments about it may change. Even some Islamist clerics sympathized with the girl, whose age has been said to be 14 or younger and who may be developmentally disabled.
The problem is profound, deeply ingrained, ideological, religious hatred.
This not only the problem, working on the persecution and helping those who have been victimized by those extremist is another problem in this country. Many have been facing threats for years on and the targeted one is Napoleon, Christian’s rights activists.
Napoleon Qayyum, the operation Director of World Vision in Progress, (WVIP) was threatened to withdrew the case of Sumbal, a Christian girl being abducted and tortured by Muslims.
According to WVIP, Napolean, has received the telephone calls threaten him to withdraw his hands from the Simbal’s case or ready to face the consequences. Through a phone call he received and threatened by Mr. Adeel (some relative of the high police officer, as he mentioned while talking).
WVIP requested the authorities to provide protection and he also requested the court to take action against the culprits.
WVIP also calls for prayer for the people who are working on this noble cause.

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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