Visit our new British Pakistani Christians website

Visit our new British Pakistani Christians website
This site will no longer publish new material. Please join our new website

Saturday, 12 December 2009

01/26/2007 17:15


Another Christian imprisoned for “blasphemy”

by Qaiser Felix

Following an altercation, a man who owed money to a Christian woman accuses her of insulting the prophet Muhammad, an offence that also carries the death penalty. She was taken into custody by the police. Minority rights group blames Islamic extremists for using the law to strike at religious minorities or anyone who dare oppose them.

Kasur (AsiaNews) – Martha Bibi, a Christian woman from Kot Nanak Singg (Kasur district), was accused on January 22 of making derogatory remarks about the prophet Muhammad and defiled his sacred name, Shahbaz Bhatti said.

Mr Bhatti, head of the Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), explained that the woman, her husband and their six children live along with other 12 Christian families in an area inhabited by some 500 Muslim families. The husband is a bricklayer and rents out construction equipment with his wife’s help. They recently rented out some tools for the construction of the Sher Rabbani mosque, but the builders have failed to pay.

Last Monday morning Martha Bibi went to the construction site to collect the money but was refused. So she asked the equipment be returned and tried to retrieve it, but Muhammad Ramzan, Mohammad Akram and Muhammad Dilbar started beating her. Only the action of passer-byes enabled her to get away.

Later that night the mosque’s imam accused Martha of uttering blasphemous words about the prophet Muhammad and incited Muslims to attack Christians. Martha and her family fled to neighbours to hide. However, the police eventually came and arrested her. She was taken to the Changa Manga police station.

She was charged with violating Section 295 C of Pakistan’s Penal Code, better known as the blasphemy law, a law that provides for long prison terms as well as the death penalty.
Police opened a file on the woman after receiving a formal complaint from Muhammad Dilbar.
As soon as the APMA found out what happened, it intervened and sent someone to meet Martha Bibi. Prison officials were contacted to be made aware of possible violence against the woman given the charges.

In a press release, the APMA appealed yesterday to the chief judge of the Supreme Court to intervene against the abusive use of the blasphemy law and called on the government to change the rules since they are used by extremists to persecute religious minorities or anyone who gets in their way. In its appeal, the APMA said that a judicial commission should be set up to review all such cases and all those who are patently innocent like Martha Bibi should be released immediately.

In a press briefing in Paris on Tuesday Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, secretary general of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q, said that the blasphemy law will be changed after next elections.

12/10/2009 15:17

Fear of new attacks means “silent” Christmas for Christians
by Fareed Khan

Outdoor recitals, carols and decorations are cancelled. Liturgical services and Midnight Mass will go ahead as usual. Bishops talk about an “atmosphere of fear;” yet the faith of Christian believers is stronger than the violence.
The commission of inquiry investigating last summer’s violence in Gojra calls on the government to change the blasphemy laws. Lahore (AsiaNews) – Pakistani Christians are preparing for a silent and low key Christmas without much public pomp and display. The community is still reeling from last summer’s attacks against the villages of Koriyan and Gojra. The army’s offensive against Islamic extremists and the latter’s wave of attacks are not helping either. Indeed, fear of more violence remains high.

Mgr Lawrence John Saldanha, archbishop of Lahore and president of the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, told AsiaNews that 2009 is going to end in a “silent Christmas” because the country’s situation is very bad.

In previous years, schools and parishes used to organise outdoor recitals, carols and other events associated with the festivities. This year, many people “have already cancelled events” and “outdoor decorations will not be put up on homes and buildings.”

“This year, the atmosphere and mood are not happy because people are fearful and upset by the country’s current situation,” the archbishop said. Still, liturgical functions and Midnight Mass will go ahead as in the past, and “the number of people will not be less because their faith is firm.”
Attacks against villages and extrajudicial killings carried out in the name of the blasphemy laws have fuelled fears and concerns in the Christian community. However, there are some small signs of hope for change.

A commission of inquiry chaired by a judge from the High Court in Lahore into events in Gojra, a village that was attacked last summer with homes set on fire and eight people killed, called on the government to take a number of steps, including bring changes to the blasphemy laws.
Adopted in 1986 under the rule of then Pakistan dictator Zia-ul-Haq, these laws impose life in prison or the death penalty on anyone who desecrates the Qur‘an or defiles the name of Muhammad.

Christmas has already produced a small miracle by reviving Pakistan’s garment industry.
In an interview published on IslamOnline, Mohsin Mirza, president of the Pakistan Readymade Garments Association, said, “The industry was going down until we received Christmas orders this year.” Overall, “We have received 20 per cent more orders this year,” mostly from the United States and Europe, worth “US$ 1.5 billion in Christmas apparel”.

1 comment:

  1. hey how are the silvesters doing in taliban and in alqaeda. please contibue target killings since 1947, the blame will always to the those stupid musle