After years of harsh punishment for those who broke them, Pakistan is beginning to reform its blasphemy laws.
The Christian Post reports that, in the last 20 years, blasphemy laws have caused the death of an estimated 60,000 people.
It is very easy to accuse someone of blasphemy against Islam, but very difficult for the defendant to plead his or her case.
The high profile case of the Christian woman and mother known as Asia Bibi is a prime example.
While harvesting berries with a group of Muslim women, Bibi was accused of drinking from the same water bowl as them. She was sentenced to the death penalty for blasphemy against Islam.
Although Pakistan’s blasphemy laws make it simple for someone to accuse another of blasphemy, they have no provision to punish false accusers or false witnesses.
Paul Bhatti, whose brother, Shahbaz Bhatti, was killed by terrorists for opposing the blasphemy laws, believes there is hope for Pakistan.
“We are still facing the cruel and harsh realities of violence against the weak and voiceless people of our community” but “The people of Pakistan are gradually coming out of oppression and fear, which has dominated them for many years."
Speaking to the U.K. parliament, Bhatti said, “We can gain inspiration and courage by looking to those who have gone before us who stood for peace, justice and unity at such great cost.”
Publication date: November 25, 2015