The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has made a passionate plea to the United Nations (UN) regarding the severe and systematic violations of human rights being committed against the Christian minority population in Pakistan. The organization called for immediate action to be taken to address the alarming situation.
Pakistan has a population of approximately 220 million people, of which Christians account for approximately 2%. This minority population, however, continues to face grave injustices, including physical attacks and false accusations of blasphemy by Islamic extremists.
The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) expressed to the UN Human Rights Council last month the condition of the Christians in Pakistan. “Pakistan is ranked as the seventh worst country in the world for Christians due to persecution under blasphemy laws, mob attacks on Christian neighborhoods, assault and murder of innocent Christians, and kidnapping and forced religious conversions of young Christian girls by Muslims,” the ECLJ representative told the U.N. council.
The ECLJ further made it known that the Islamic blasphemy laws are used to persecute the minority Christians. “Instead of heeding the international community’s calls to repeal its blasphemy laws, Pakistan recently amended one section, increasing punishment from three years to life in prison for defaming the Prophet Muhammad’s friends or family,” the ECLJ representative told the council. “Of course, anyone who says anything that could be taken as defaming the Prophet Muhammad is punished by death.”
The plight of the Christian minority in Pakistan has been a longstanding issue. In recent years, there have been several high-profile cases of Christians being falsely accused of blasphemy and subsequently sentenced to death. Such accusations are often based on flimsy or non-existent evidence, and there have been reports of individuals being targeted due to personal grudges or other motives.
The ACLJ’s plea to the UN comes at a time when the situation in Pakistan appears to be worsening, as three innocent Christians are sentenced to death for blasphemy.
According to a report by CBN News, 16 years old Shahzad Masih who was a Christian was arrested in 2017 after being accused of blasphemy. He was sentenced to death after spending 5 years in prison. There was no evidence submitted during his trial last November to affirm the charge that he had blasphemed. Masih is still in prison waiting for his appeal to come before Pakistan’s High Court.
Also, two Christian brothers, Qaiser and Amoon Ayub, have been sentenced for blasphemy, after their names were seen on a website they had not created.
“Based on this information alone, the trial court sentenced them to death, and the High Court upheld their conviction,” the ECLJ told the HRC. “The Ayub brothers have spent nine years in prison and are now waiting for the Supreme Court to hear their appeal.”
“We urge this council to urge Pakistan to stop the abuse of the blasphemy laws and comply with its international commitments under Human Rights treaties,” the ECLJ representative told the U.N. council.
In its appeal to the UN, the ACLJ called for the international community to take urgent action to address the situation in Pakistan. The organization urged the UN to put pressure on the Pakistani government to take immediate steps to protect the Christian minority community and to ensure that justice is served in cases where Christians are falsely accused of blasphemy.