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Saturday, May 12, 2007

HRCP declares draft apostasy law ‘disturbing’

LAHORE: Reports of plans to introduce a law punishing apostasy are deeply disturbing, particularly in Pakistan’s present context, said Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairperson Asma Jahangir in a statement issued on Friday.

The HRCP statement reads:

“HRCP believes it is imperative that authorities carefully consider any decision in this regard given the tendency to abuse laws in the country. The blasphemy law, widely used to settle petty, personal disputes is a case in point with suffering inflicted on many innocent persons through its misuse. “It is also a fact that there is apparent lack of unanimity among Islamic scholars on the application of centuries-old concepts in the modern age. There is as such a danger the new law could ignite further sectarian friction and acrimony. “The authorities need also to carefully consider global opinion, Pakistan’s obligations to uphold human rights and its image in the international community. A new law on religion may further damage the country’s standing in the comity of nations, particularly at a time when violence by extremist groups has already brought it a bad name. "

Daily Times Pakistan

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