More evidence of the oppressive nature of Pakistan’s Sharia-based blasphemy law. “Radical Islamic politicians accused of blasphemy,” from Asia News, with thanks to DFS:
Islamabad (AsiaNews) — Ashfaq Chaudhry, head of the Islamabad’s chapter of the Pakistan People’s Movement, has accused members of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA, a political alliance of six radical Islamic organisations), including opposition leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, with blasphemy. Last Wednesday in parliament, MPs for the MMA tore up copies of the Women’s Protection Bill containing verses from the Qur’an. Mr Chaudhry also charged MMA President Qazi Hussain Ahmed, and MMA Deputy Secretary General, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed. In his opinion, their action was offensive to all Pakistani Muslims, and they should be prosecuted under the blasphemy law and receive an exemplary punishment. The infamous blasphemy law refers to Section 295-b of Pakistan’s Penal Code which provides for life in prison for desecrating the Qur’an.
Qazi Hussain Ahmad reacted immediately, rejecting the accusations. The MMA president did confirm the protest action against the Women’s Protection Bill, but insisted that the draft legislation did not contain any verse from the Qur’an.
For Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (an agency of the Catholic Bishops” Conference), this episode is but another example of how religion is used and abused for personal reasons.