Pakistan’s blasphemy law is misunderstood by foreign media


No pressure to revoke blasphemy laws: religious affairs minister

There’s no pressure within Pakistan to revoke the country’s blasphemy laws, although foreign governments and media often demand such a change, says Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf.

Addressing members of the Pakistani-American Press Association at a dinner on Sunday, he also said those who wanted to make Pakistan a secular state were too weak to bring any real pressure.

“Pakistan can never be a secular state,” he declared.

“The blasphemy laws are misunderstood. They are not against non-Muslims,” said the minister, although he did acknowledge that some elements exploited procedural loopholes to register false cases.

“Those loopholes are being plugged. Now a SP-level officer must probe a complaint before a case is registered. Those who misuse these blasphemy laws are proceeded against,” said Sardar Yousaf.

“But no changes are expected in the law itself. The law cannot be revoked. It’s there to stay, as it has a noble aim, to protect beliefs and religious personalities of all faiths, not just Islam,” he added.

The journalists, however, reminded him that the law was misused at a regular basis and often innocent people were targeted to settle personal scores.

The minister said the government was aware of these problems and had taken steps to end the misuse of this law.

Sardar Yousaf said that Pakistani society was different from the rest of the world as it had a state religion and a Constitution that ensured that no law could be made against the Quran and Sunnah.