## Stop persecution against Pak Christians, repeal blasphemy law: Bangladesh Christian Association ##
In a letter to the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka, the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA) has demanded the repeal of blasphemy law and a stop to the persecution against Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.
The letter, signed by Nirmol Rozario, president of BCA, and Hemanta I Corraya, secretary general says, “we have been concerned and aggrieved due to some incidents in your country in connection to the blasphemy law.”
As per international media reports, a Sessions Court in Lahore on September 8, 2020 ordered Asif Pervaiz, 37, a Pakistani Christian, “to serve three-year prison term for “misuing” his phone to send a derogatory text message.” The court then ruled, “he shall be hanged by his neck till his death.” He was also filed 50,000 rupees (US$ 300).
The death sentence came only days after a Christian man, David Masih, was charged with blasphemy after pages of the Quran were found in a drain in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
It has been learnt Pervaiz used to work in a textile factory in the Youhanabad area of Lahore and has been in police custody since 2013 after his supervisor brought against him a fabricated charge of sending defamatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad to him in a text message.
“We call upon the authorities in Pakistan to drop all fabricated blasphemy charges against Christians and members of minority communities and release them with dignity. We also urge for clemency for those already sentenced to death for blasphemy,” Nirmol Rozario said in the letter.
Rozario further said that he is aware that blasphemy remains a contentious issue in Pakistan and hundreds of Pakistani Christians and other minorities have fled the country fearing for their lives over allegations of blasphemy. “Unproven accusations of blasphemy have led to extrajudicial killings, mob lynching and violent protests targeting minority community members.”
“Two prominent and liberal Christian politicians—Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer—were assassinated for their efforts to repeal the blasphemy law and to support Asia Bibi, a Christian woman falsely charged for blasphemy and later acquitted by the court. A Catholic bishop has also committed suicide due to frustrations over the blasphemy law,” Rozario noted.
“We believe the blasphemy law is conflicting to fundamental rights of Pakistani citizens guaranteed in the constitution. The law is vague, arbitrary and leaves ample scopes for misuse as we have seen it has been abused to fulfill personal and communal hatred, revenge and enmity against innocent people,” he added.
The letter drew the attention of the Government of Pakistan as well as lawmakers, politicians, the judiciary, the civil society and the people of Pakistan regarding the persecution of minorities in the nation and demanded a repeal of the Blasphemy law as early as possible to save the minority people in Pakistan.