The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Peoples’ Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR) have called the attention of the government rights bodies to alarming incidents of violence related to false allegations of blasphemy.
Justice (R) Nasira Javaid Iqbal, the Patron in Chief PCMR and Peter Jacob, the Executive Director CSJ, have urged a prompt response in an urgent appeal to the Federal Ministry of Human Rights, Standing Committees on Human Rights of the Senate and National Assembly of Pakistan, the National Commission for Human Rights and One-Man Commission set up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The communication included the data of 57 cases of alleged blasphemy that have emerged from 1st January till 10th May 2023 and four extra-judicial killings.
While the highest abuse 28 was reported in Punjab, followed by 16 in Sindh, eight in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and five in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. A list of cases was also dispatched to government rights bodies.
Since 1994, 92 persons have been killed after alleged offences related to religion. Out of those 50 were Muslims, 23 Christians, 14 Ahmadis, two Hindus, one Buddhist and the religion of two persons could not be ascertained.
The PCMR and CSJ stated in their appeal that the blasphemy laws have consistently been instrumentalized to settle personal scores, persecute minorities, perpetrate mob violence, and hatred in thousands of cases which the government has failed to address.
The sectarian and religious groups have created a climate of impunity for themselves entailing the infringement of freedom of expression, freedom of movement, and social interactions particularly for the minority groups.
Therefore, PCMR and CSJ urged the government entities to help end the multiple violations under these heinous practices including the following steps:
- a) Study the issue and form a collective narrative against the use/abuse of religion and blasphemy law causing human rights violations.
- b) Take steps to implement the recommendations of the judicial inquiry conducted after the incident of the killing of innocent people in Gojra in 2009.