Pakistan: Reform of laws that discriminate against and harass dhimmi Christians is just a mirage. From Assist News Service, with thanks to Nicolei:
PAKISTAN (ANS) — Minorities regard proposals for procedural reform of the notorious blasphemy laws, introduced to the National Assembly last week, as meaningless and dangerous, because they create the impression of reform without any change in reality.
That’s the view of a delegation from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) who recently returned from a fact-finding visit to Pakistan, where they met former blasphemy prisoners in hiding, as well as church leaders, Parliamentarians, human rights activists, lawyers and women victims of sexual harassment and violence.
Activists face severe threats from the Pakistani authorities and Islamic extremists. One prominent campaigner for the rights of religious minorities told CSW: “We Christians are living among the hunting dogs. They want to see us dead. People who criticise the authorities, who are bold and active, are on a hit list.” A lawyer, who has represented many people, Muslim and non-Muslim, accused of blasphemy, receives regular death threats. After one case, his car was stopped by militant Islamists who beat him, held a gun to his head and warned: “We will not leave you. You are an enemy of Islam.”
The CSW team met former blasphemy prisoner Aslam Masih, who spent almost five years in jail under two life sentences for blasphemy. He endured severe torture and beatings, and was held in solitary confinement. But even though he was acquitted in June 2003, he has had to live in hiding ever since. Anyone charged with blasphemy in Pakistan, even if they are found innocent, becomes a target for Islamic extremists for the rest of their lives. Aslam Masih’s lawyer said: “He has no choice but to live in hiding. He lives in danger. A normal life is not possible for a former blasphemy prisoner in this society, even if he has been acquitted.”
“A fresh danger to minorities has emerged in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), which is governed by the pro-Taliban extremist group, the Muttahia Majlis-e-Amal (MMA),” said a CSW spokesperson. “The MMA Government in the province has already introduced Shari’a law, and has confirmed its intention to implement the Hisba Act, which would impose Islamic practices on the province, despite reservations by the Council on Islamic Ideology.”