03/30/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony presented a false narrative on March 25, 2021, that religious minorities enjoy no religious restrictions of any kind anywhere in Pakistan. Open Doors, the U.S. State Department, and International Christian Concern (ICC) have proven otherwise in 2020 reports.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “Religious freedom is an inalienable right and the bedrock upon which free societies are built and flourish.” According to Open Doors World Watch List 2020, Pakistan is the fifth-worst religious freedom offender globally. Pakistani Christians in the Muslim-majority and Muslim-led power structure in Pakistan endure Islamic oppression. Religious freedom oppression takes shape most heavily in the legal system.
The Human Rights Watch found Pakistan’s government efforts to ‘Islamicize’ Pakistan’s civil and criminal law have undermined religious freedom and expression. Section 295-A, B, and C, in Pakistan’s Penal Code, is direct evidence of religious discrimination against non-Muslim minorities. Christians especially feel the brunt of the anti-blasphemy law.
ICC researched blasphemy cases for two years until February 2021 and profiled the cases of Christians currently accused under Section 295 in Pakistan. ICC profiled 28 victims of blasphemy with varying criminal charges and varying levels of the judicial process. Two men suffered from known mental disabilities, and four of the accused are minors. By the end of February, ICC documented two sentences to life imprisonment and four death sentences.
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