Intolerance of Religious Minorities Rises in Pakistan

Pakistan, where Muslim fanatics vowed at a religious convention held in the first week of April that they would convert Pakistan into a theocratic state like that of Afghanistan, remains one of the most glaring examples of religious intolerance in the world.

Blasphemy laws and other discriminatory laws hang like naked swords over the heads of non-Muslim people (i.e. Christians, Hindus, Bheels, Maingwals, Sikhs, and the indigenous people). Section 295/C of the Pakistan Penal Code (blasphemy law) imposes the death penalty on anyone found to have "by words or visible representation or by an imputation or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiled the name of the Prophet Mohammad of Islam." Similarly, anybody accused of blasphemy against the Koran should be awarded life imprisonment under section 295/C of the Blasphemy Act.

In one recent incident, Parvez Masih, a Christian teacher of a village in Sialkot District, was falsely charged April 1 as a blasphemer and is now being persecuted in jail. His elderly parents and other members of his family are being targeted by the fanatic Muslims of the area. There are twenty other Christian families, which, since April 1st are living in a state of constant harassment.