The EU Parliament has slammed Pakistan for its totalitarian ‘blasphemy’ laws, which the Parliament feels, can be easily abused, and have “led to an increase of violence against members of religious minorities”.
Certain laws even carry the death-penalty and there is ample scope for misinterpretation. The EU Parliament has called for a “thoroughgoing review” of the laws in the light of their oppressive nature.
According to The Dawn, the Parliament said the laws “often used to justify censorship, criminalisation, persecution and, in certain cases, the murder of members of political, racial and religious minorities.”
The Parliament mentioned Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Shiites, Buddhists, Parsis, Bahais and critical citizens who dare to raise their voice against injustice as susceptible.
The texts in question “are misused by extremist groups and those wishing to settle personal scores,” the EU deputies said.
The Parliament did not take into account recent face-saving measures by Pakistan to appease minorities, such as adoption of a “National Minorities Day”, establishing a quota of five per cent for minorities in the federal jobs sector and recognising non-Muslim public holidays.
Other invidious practices include the practice of including religious details on citizens’ passports, which the Memebrs of European Parliament (MEPs) feel could lead to “discriminatory practices”.
Pakistan seems to be continuing in its drive to root out “sacriligous” content as it recently mooted a proposal for imposing a permanent ban on social-networking site, Facebook, for “hurting” Muslim sentiments by holing competitions on Prophet Mohammed caricatures.