However, “to date, the law has reportedly had little effect and is not uniformly enforced. Bail is generally not granted in blasphemy cases on the grounds that persons facing the death penalty are likely to abscond. Furthermore, prosecution of blasphemy cases is notoriously slow and suspects often ultimately spend lengthy periods in prison. Although some blasphemy convictions are overturned on appeal, first instance courts are often subject to intimidation resulting in, inter alia, a lengthy decision process and refusal of bail out of fear of retaliation from religious extremists”.
Jahangir, Chairperson of HRCP, the blasphemy laws have actually “reached their ultimate goal: they have triggered religious terrorism. They invite people to divert the law to their advantage and they undermine the legal system, making [even] judges flee”.
For targeted religious ‘Others’, the consequences have been devastating. By May 2011, the situation was such, Ahmed Rashid lamented, that “over a thousand people” were “in jail on charges of blasphemy, many of them Christians.
Thank you for reading this and please know that your sharing, liking and commenting on this post goes a long way in helping to give voice to the persecuted.
All proceeds from the sale of the book support the work of the BPCA. Much of the early sales will be used to support victims of the Peshawar bomb attacks – December 2013.
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