The Pakistani government is too weak and/or compromised to stand up to the supporters of the blasphemy law, which is used to victimized innocent people on an increasingly regular basis. Tiny Minority of Extremists Update: “In Pak, blasphemy law supporters on the streets,” from the Associated Press, January 24:
Peshawar: Rallies took place in Peshawar and Faisalabad on Sunday in support of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws that stipulate death for those insulting Islam.
About ten-thousand supporters of the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party gathered in the northwestern city of Peshawar for a sit-in outside the provincial assembly….
Pakistani Islamist groups called for the strikes and rallies this month despite assurances by the embattled ruling Pakistan People’s Party that it would not pursue any changes to the laws….
In Faisalabad, Abdul Rehman Makki, a leader of the banned Islamist charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, said Muslims would “never tolerate any disrespect for the prophet”.
The US and the UN believe Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group accused of planning and carrying out the attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
The Pakistani government, which is struggling against Al-Qaida and Taliban militants, has stated it has no plan to amend the blasphemy laws.
Analysts say the government is too weak to pick a fight with Islamist forces, which are able to rally thousands of people on the streets even though their political parties only have a few seats in parliament.
Dozens of Pakistanis are sentenced to death each year under the blasphemy law, but most cases are thrown out by higher courts and no executions have been carried out. However, some who are accused end up being killed by extremists.