Church condemns continued blasphemy law abuse in Pakistan
Published on 12 December, 2014
The Government of Pakistan must amend its blasphemy law which is being used to terrorise minority faith communities, according to Scotland's national church.
In a letter to the High Commissioner for Pakistan to the UK, the Moderator of the General Assembly, Rt Rev John Chalmers, has expressed his shock at the continued attacks on Christians by people using the blasphemy law as an excuse.
He said: "The misuse of the blasphemy law is disproportionately amongst non-Muslim minority faith communities and we raise this issue with the High Commissioner because of the pleas of our partner church in Pakistan.
"The latest outrage was the murder of a Christian couple, Shehzad and his wife Shama in Kot Radha Kishan near Kasur. The couple had three young children and Shama was reportedly expecting their fourth child.
"Along with many others around the world we in the Church of Scotland were deeply saddened when the High Court in Lahore dismissed Asia Bibi's appeal against her conviction under the blasphemy law and upheld the death sentence. It has been reported that Asia will now take her case to the Supreme Court.
"The evidence against Asia Bibi is flimsy and it beggars belief that a young woman could be hanged for drinking water from the same source as her Muslim fellow workers.Asia's husband Ashiq Masih has written to President Mamnoon Hussain pleading for his wife to be pardoned.I add my voice to that call for clemency.The Church of Scotland urges the Government of Pakistan to release and pardon Asia Bibi and to ensure that she and her family are protected from those who would seek to take the law into their own hands.
"The Church of Scotland urges the Government of Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy law. A law that was designed to protect people of all faiths and to promote respect for all religions is being used to intimidate and terrorise minority faith communities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
"This goes against the traditions and teachings of Islam and is contrary to the culture of the majority of Pakistanis. The Church of Scotland has connections with Pakistan that go back to 1857 and we welcome the Pakistani community and all it contributes to life in Scotland. We stand with the Christian community in Pakistani and urge the government to act to protect minority faith communities and ensure justice for all."