Pakistan denounces EU resolution on blasphemy

Special
Assistant to the Prime Minister on Interfaith Harmony Hafiz Muhammad Tahir
Mehmood Ashrafi on Saturday said there would be no compromise on the blasphemy
laws, as all the Ulema and religious leaders rejected the resolution passed by
the European Union in the regard.

Addressing
a press conference at the Muthida Ulema Board Seerat Academy, he said no one
could be allowed to blasphemy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the name of freedom
of speech or religion and any violence in that regard was also not tolerable.

A
negative discussion continued in the European Union regarding Islamophobia and
blasphemy, Ashrafi said adding the international propaganda on forced
conversions in Pakistan was baseless.

If
some elements were found involved such activities, they would be sentenced, he
added.


Human Rights Minister
Shireen Mazari


Responding to the passage of the resolution,
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari (while apparently referring to) co-author
of the resolution Charlie Weimers of Sweden, said: “It is unfortunate that
the co-sponsor of the EU’s anti-Pakistan resolution was a member of a party
that the Swedish PM Stefan Lofven referred to as ‘a neo-fascist single-issue
party’ with ‘Nazi and racist roots’.”

She said the pertinent question now was
“whether GSP Plus is getting muddied in Islamophobia?”

“We have issues to resolve but there has
been more movement now on our Human Rights International Convention commitments
than in previous governments. The way forward is dialogue & negotiations,
which we have been doing, not extreme public positionings. Unfortunate,”
she wrote.

Meanwhile,
Pakistan’s Foreign Office Friday expressed its disappointment at the adoption
of a resolution at the European Parliament on blasphemy laws in the country.

Foreign
Office Spokesperson Mr. Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry noted that the unwarranted
commentary about Pakistan’s judicial system and domestic laws are regrettable.

While
reminding the world about growing the anti-Muslims and anti-Islam trends in the
world, Chaudhry noted that at a time of rising Islamophobia and populism, the
international community must exhibit a common resolve to fight xenophobia,
intolerance and incitement to violence based on religion or belief, and work
together to strengthen peaceful co-existence.

The EU resolution

According to the resolution, the situation in
Pakistan “continued to deteriorate in 2020 as the government
systematically enforced blasphemy laws and failed to protect religious
minorities from abuses by non-state actors, with a sharp rise in targeted
killings, blasphemy cases, forced conversions, and hate speech against
religious minorities including Ahmadis, Shia Muslims, Hindus, Christians and
Sikhs; whereas abduction, forced conversion to Islam, rape and forced marriage
remained an imminent threat for religious minority women and children in 2020,
particularly those from the Hindu and Christian faiths”.

The EU
resolution also criticized the judiciary of Pakistan by saying: the judicial
procedures in blasphemy cases in Pakistan are highly flawed; whereas low
standards of evidence are required for a conviction and judicial authorities
often uncritically accept allegations; whereas the accused are often presumed
guilty and have to prove their innocence rather than vice versa.

Shagufta Kausar and
Shafqat Emmanuel


The EU resolution expresses particular
concern regarding the case of a Christian couple Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat
Emmanuel, who were sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in 2014. These
charges emanated from the alleged sending of text messages disrespectful of
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from a phone number registered to Kausar to the person
accusing the couple of blasphemy.

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