As Christian mother of five Asia Bibi marks her sixth year in prison in Pakistan, placed on death row for blasphemy charges, a U.K. Christian group reports that some attempts are being made to reform sections of the country's controversial blasphemy laws that punish religious minorities. The group also believes that Britain and the U.S. must rethink the way they provide financial aid to Pakistan if they want to see reforms in the country.
"The proposed changes will ostensibly make it more difficult for blasphemy charges to be laid, focusing on proving that any blasphemy was intentional under a legal concept termed Mens Rea translated as 'guilty mind,'" Wilson Chowdhry, president of the British Pakistani Christian Association, told The Christian Post on Wednesday.
"However the large number of extra-judicial killings and insouciance from local police to get involved in blasphemy charges or a pattern of local police authorities cowing under pressure from mobs led by local imams, suggest this law change will have little effect." more >>
As Pakistani lawmakers consider legislation to reform the nation's corrupt blasphemy laws, Islamic clerics are bashing the government for even considering such an option, and are calling for the release of the murderer of the Punjab governor who advocated for blasphemy reform in 2011.
Asia News reports that 10 Muslim scholars and a former Pakistani judge gathered recently at a "seminar for protection of the prophet's dignity" and expressed their concern over the proposed legislation that is attempting to add the word "intention" to the nation's blasphemy law.
Speaking at the seminar was former Pakistani justice Mian Nazir Akhtar, who represents Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for referring to Pakistan's blasphemy law as a "black law." Akhtar bashed the proposed legislation and asserted that those who insult the Muslim prophet Muhammad deserve to be killed and "sent to hell." more >>
Pakistani Prison officials have confirmed that a Catholic death row inmate, who was tortured into confessing to three murders over 23 years ago when he was just 15 years old, was executed on Wednesday.
Aftab Bahadur, who was convicted of the 1992 killings of Sabiha Bari and her two sons, was hanged at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, but not before he had one last chance to proclaim his innocence.
"Aftab Bahadur was hanged at District Jail Lahore on Wednesday at 4.30 a.m.," an unnamed prison official told Reuters. "Before the hanging, he was crying and saying he was innocent." more >>
A massacre of Christians in Lahore, Pakistan, was prevented back in May partly due to three Muslim leaders standing up against other Islamic imams inciting a mass attack on Christians for alleged blasphemy. A total of 22 Muslims have so far been arrested in the incident.
Fides News Agency reported on Tuesday that Christian lawyers in the region are speaking out about the incident, which occurred on May 24. Local Christian man Humayun Faisal was accused of burning pages of the Quran, which is considered blasphemous, and has led to mob attacks on Christians in a number of cases.
Police saved Faisal from the lynching by arresting him, but Islamic protesters then turned their anger toward the Christian community in the neighborhood where the man lived. more >>
A congregation in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi is being threatened by Muslim criminals who want to seize the church's land. The menacing group is trying to intimidate the Christian community by saying that they'll accuse them of the highly punishable offense of blasphemy if they don't vacate their church property and stop worshiping there.
Members of the Jerusalem Church, a Pentecostal, 300-family congregation in Karachi, have informed International Christian Concern that they've been receiving deadly threats from a group of armed Muslim miscreants, who are known for seizing property from the poor and various targeted killings.
Church members said they were approached in May by the group and were told to leave the church and never return. However, the interaction in May was not the only time that church members were confronted by the group, according to one of the church's pastors, Ilyas Masih. more >>
The health of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian mother who was jailed and sentenced to the death penalty in 2010 after being accused of blasphemy, is dwindling, as she now has trouble walking and is also throwing up blood inside of her prison cell, her family has said.
According to a report by The Global Dispatch, the 50-year-old Bibi's family was allowed to visit with her in May, after not being allowed to see her for over a month and noticed that Bibi is "so weak that she can hardly walk."
For Bibi, who is suffering from intestinal bleeding, her health problems are only getting worse and she's in dire need of medical attention, a family source said. more >>