Pakistan Christian sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Another verdict in Pakistan will rock all minorities because the fear of blasphemy weighs heavily. Hence, the sentence of death passed on Asif Pervaiz is a firm reminder of institutional religious discrimination in Pakistan.
Asif Pervaiz, a Christian factory worker, has suffered already. This relates to being held in custody since 2013. Therefore, one can only imagine his treatment after such a long period.
In Pakistan, for religious minorities including the Ahmadiyya, Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs, the fear of alleged blasphemy against the prophet of Islam is very real. After all, many have faced long-terms in custody followed by death threats when released.
Christian, Hindu, and Sikh women also fear being kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam. Every year this is a problem in Pakistan but little is done to ostracize this country.
In one brutal case – sadly one among many – Asma Yaqoob, a Christian female, died in horrendous agony after being set on fire. It took roughly two weeks for her to die from severe burns. Her only crime was to remain steadfast in her religious faith when a Muslim male wanted to marry her.
Asif Pervaiz will appeal the death sentence that was announced in Lahore. However, even if he is eventually acquitted, he knows that death may happen because of angry Islamists. Therefore, it is high time for the international community to take a firmer stance.
Al Jazeera reports, “Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws prescribe a mandatory death penalty for the crime of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, and strict penalties for other infractions such as insulting Islam, the holy Quran or certain holy people.”
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