Pakistan's blasphemy laws exploited to target religious minorities, critics say
On September 17, 2012 At 1:48 am
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Pakistan's blasphemy laws are facing scrutiny after the recent arrest of a young Christian girl accused of burning pages from the Quran.
The laws, which were first formalized in 1860 during the British rule, carry a death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam. Between 1987 and August 2012, around 250 blasphemy cases have been brought up in courts. Since 1990, 52 have been killed without any trial or legal proceedings.
Critics claim the blasphemy laws are being exploited to target religious minorities. The blasphemy laws are vague and ambiguous, allowing for a climate of exploitation.
Al Jazeerah spoke with a woman using the name Mary, who said that her father had been accused of blasphemy three years ago. Her family is part of the Christian minority and she still fears for her life. When her father was accused, the family ran from their home, leaving a successful business behind. She thinks that her father was accused of blasphemy because some of her Muslim neighbors were jealous of his success.