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Will not allow anyone to misuse blasphemy law: President

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that Government will not allow anyone to misuse the blasphemy law and has sought names for committee of scholars and experts to recommend reformed procedures so as to effectively prevent the misuse of blasphemy law for personal and political reasons.

He expressed these views while meeting Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities who called on President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday at Aiwan-e-Sadr and presented report in the Aisa Bibi case who was convicted and sentenced to death under section 295 B and C of PPC.

The report accompanied with the supporting documents has concluded that the blasphemy case against Asia Bibi has been registered on grounds of personal enmity and the story narrated in the FIR was concocted and mala fide. The report recommended pardon for Asia Bibi and suspension of the sentence. It also recommended providing security to Asia Bibi in jail and also to her family.

Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities, while presenting the report said that the people belonging to minorities as a marginalized community knew fully well the consequences of blasphemy and could never think of committing the offence. He said that minorities has great respect for all the Holy Prophets and the Holy Books and could not imagine blasphemous acts.

He said that before the introduction of blasphemy law in its present form by General Zia-ul-Haq, not a single case of blasphemy had ever surfaced in Pakistan against minorities but after the promulgation of law by General Zia-ul-Haq, hundreds of non-Muslims had been wrongly involved in blasphemy cases. Many of them had been killed without recourse to judicial process and while many fled the country but no action has been taken against the culprits.

The President asked Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities, to propose names for committee of scholars and experts to recommend reformed procedures so as to effectively prevent the misuse of blasphemy law for personal and political reasons. The committee to be headed by the Minister for Minorities should draw up its recommendations in consultation with political parties and stakeholders for the consideration of the Government, he said.

Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar quoted the President as saying that the Government will not allow anyone to misuse the blasphemy law and will take all appropriate measures whether administrative, procedural or legislative to stop growing incidents of misuse of the blasphemy law.



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