ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers from the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday called on members of the National Assembly to review Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.
The demand comes a day after the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) ruled out the death penalty for false accusations of blasphemy and ruled that there was no need to amend the blasphemy law.
Speaking during a session of the lower house of Parliament chaired by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq on Tuesday, lawmakers discussed the recent twin suicide bombings at a Peshawar church that killed 81 people and debated on a possible review of the blasphemy law.
PTI leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said that religion was being misused as a means to attain power. Hashmi said that the blasphemy law was “incorrectly made,” due to which many innocent people are languishing in jails. Therefore, he said there was a need to review the law.
Commenting on the Peshawar bombing, another member of the PTI, Dr Shireen Mazari said that the sacrifices Christians could not be denied. She said that in order to free innocent non-Muslims from unjust imprisonment, parliament needs to remove flaws from the blasphemy law.
Also speaking during the session, Sahibzada Mohammad Yaqoob of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said that the Peshawar tragedy was against Islamic and international laws.
He said that the reason for the blasphemy laws was to ensure than nobody disrespects any messenger of God including the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Jesus Christ. He urged Javed Hashmi of the PTI to move a bill for amending the blasphemy law or to contact Council of Islamic Ideology or federal Shariah Court and register his apprehensions regarding blasphemy law.
He said Islam was the religion of peace and provides equal rights to minorities. Conspiracies are being hatched to sabotage the peace process in the country however the dialogue process with the willing Taliban should be held.
For the sake of lasting peace, he said there was no harm in accepting the just demands of Taliban.
Stressing on the need for national unity in the face of the terrorist attack in Peshawar, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said that the perpetrators of this crime should be brought to the book at any cost.
Jamiat Ulema-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) leader Asiya Nasir said that the nation was in dire need of unity. She said that, despite the gruesome attack in Peshawar, her party was still in favour of peace talks with militants.