Christian Persecution and Rise of Blasphemy Cases in Pakistan

Farrukh Saif

August 22, 2023

Since January 2023, Pakistan has experienced a concerning surge in registered blasphemy cases. The most recent distressing incident unfolded on August 16, 2023, when an enraged mob targeted churches and homes of Christians in Jaranwala, District Faisalabad, leading to an extrajudicial punishment.

Eurasia Report

According to a report by Eurasia Review, the period between January and May witnessed a total of 57 blasphemy cases in Pakistan. Significantly, the majority of these cases emanated from Punjab province, with 28 cases reported. Sindh recorded 16 cases, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir each reported 5 cases. Punjab, renowned as the epicenter of blasphemy accusations, accounted for the highest number of incidents.

In response to the alarming increase in violent episodes based on blasphemy allegations, voices demanding the repeal of blasphemy laws have grown stronger. Alternatively, there has been a notable call to enhance the protection of religious minorities from becoming targets of false accusations.

Concern showed by Amnesty International

Amnesty International underscores the escalating misuse of blasphemy laws and asserts, “Pakistani authorities possess undeniable evidence of the perils posed by these laws. Their vague and coercive nature infringes upon fundamental rights such as freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and expression. The laws have been exploited to target society’s most marginalized individuals. Urgent repeal is imperative. Meanwhile, the establishment of protective measures against their misuse is crucial. By disregarding repeated pleas for repeal and attempting to strengthen the laws, Pakistani authorities inadvertently foster an environment conducive to human rights violations.”

Case Study by Center for Research and Security

A study conducted in 2022 by the Centre for Research and Security paints a grim picture for religious minorities in Pakistan. The study shows that between 1947 and 2021, attackers caused fatalities in 89 documented instances linked to blasphemy allegations. During the same period, the study recorded approximately 1,500 accusations and cases of blasphemy, underscoring the pressing need for reform.

In conclusion, the surge in blasphemy cases in Pakistan has resulted in widespread concern. The urgency to address this challenge is clear, as evidenced by the rise in violence against religious minorities. Repealing or reforming the blasphemy laws is an essential step toward ensuring the safety and rights of all individuals in the country.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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