Angry Pakistani demonstrators shout slogans during a protest over alleged blasphemous remarks by a Christian in a Christian neighborhood in Badami Bagh area of Lahore on March 9, 2013.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Discussing the Badami Bagh incident in Lahore, the Senate Standing Committee on National Harmony on Thursday recommended stern punishment for people involved in making false blasphemy accusations.

Mir Mohammad Ali Rind who presided over the meeting at the Parliament House said the burning of properties in Badami Bagh was a tragic incident which portrayed a wrong image of Pakistan all over the world. He said immediate steps should be taken to avoid such kind of incidents in future.

Kamran Michael, a member of the committee, said when people were accused of blasphemy it took them eight to 10 years to prove their innocence in courts and even after that they could not stay safe in their areas.

“At the moment as many as 100 Christians and a few hundred Muslims are in jails because they were involved in cases of blasphemy but not a single one has been convicted. There should be equal punishment (death penalty) for the person who makes false blasphemy accusation,” he added.

Members of the committee agreed with the proposal and decided to recommend legislation for avoiding misuse or abuse of blasphemy law.

Other members of the committee who attended the meeting were Khalida Perveen, Amar Jeet and Heman Das.

Earlier, the deputy commissioner of Lahore briefed the committee about the incident in which 112 houses were set on fire, saying the incident happened because of the mismanagement of police.

He said police officers were not expecting that sort of reaction by the public against the alleged blasphemy by suspect Sawan Masih who was in police custody at the time of incident. He blamed two trader groups — Aman and Etihad — for the incident, saying members of Aman group started torching the houses in the Joseph Colony.

The deputy commissioner said the colony was located on 23 Kanals of land. The local government constructed 16 quarters there in 1978 but after that illegal construction started and most of houses in the colony were illegally constructed.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police of Punjab informed the committee that there were 45 police personnel at the place of incident on March 9 and the number of protesters was about 3,000.

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Comments (13)

April 5, 2013 1:50 am
when muslims make similar statement against any other religion, does that blashphemy law apply ? Your face is so dirty thinking that you are the best. Who gave you write to abuse others and expect severe punishment on others if they absue your religion. Yours is dirty community.
April 5, 2013 2:48 am
good idea. anything making such allegations should be arrested, publicly killed by a mob, and then re-arrested and given a fair trial.
Khan Baba
April 5, 2013 3:14 am
Blasphemy law: was this sort of thing there at the times of Holy Prophet (PBUH) ?,,,, not at all. This is the stunt of so called ulema and political parties to have worldly gains.... Will bear the fruits though,,, already started bearing...
Kashan Awais
April 5, 2013 4:17 am
I fully agree with the suggestion of equal punishment for false allegations of blasphemy. Rather this kind of offence should should be tried in the terrorism court because of the consequences it invariably results in. There have been many known examples where the innocent people who have been accused of blasphemy, have been brutally killed by mobs; and even the other members of the community who have absolutely no connection with the alleged incident have suffered losses of their lives and property. Therefore anyone falsely accusing someone of blasphemy must be severely punished and believe me this would be in perfect conformity with Islam. Punishment for Qazaf has the same philosophy whereby falsely accusing someone has an impact on the dignity and respect of the accused, in the same way falsely accusing someone of blasphemy puts at risk not only the life of the accused but also that of many other innocents.
April 5, 2013 5:38 am
Naturally, no one will have the courage to say that the problem is JUST religion. NO COUNTRY should allow any religion to influence how human beings are treated. Pakistan needs humanitarian laws, not Islamic laws! We need to be a secular country! The fact that Pakistan is ACTUALLY considering putting someone to death in the name of religion as part of the law is OUTRAGEOUS.
Taliban hater
April 5, 2013 7:59 am
Death punishment is the most suitable
April 5, 2013 8:44 am
AT least there is now a discussion of the misuse and abuse of the blasphemy law!! For the longest time, this was not even acknowledged
Abdur Razzaque
April 5, 2013 9:44 am
It is the govt. and the existing societies responsibility to look into this matter. Keep eyes on regarding the misuse and towards the abuser of the law. Islam does encourage and make obligatory also to the Muslims to protect their minorities from any kinds of humiliation unless it is proved by the govt. Whoever abuse the Blasphemy law and put the minorities lives in danger merely are considered as a traitor or an abuser of the Amanat.
April 5, 2013 2:49 pm
When you have "thaykaydar" of religion running here and there trying to run their shops, blasphemy is the perfect tool to ignite the ignorant !!! only in Pakistan we have so many "bid`et" thriving at the price of not having enough knowledge about the religion.
Gerry D'Cunha
April 5, 2013 5:19 pm
blasphemy law was introduced by zia-ul-haq for his own motive reasons and to put the minorities lives in danger - 99% of blasphemy law are misuse and abuse by muslims on minorities
zac ali
April 5, 2013 9:06 pm
as a british born asian of pakistani origins, time after time, pakistan backwood way of thinking keeps on surprising me, as a country of 180million people you have now become the laughting joke around the world, its about time the youngters take control of their own destiny and turn this country around before its too late, and let me tell you if you let these mullas get there hands on power they will take you back to the dark ages, if it got a beard talks about religion all day and tells you are going sraight to hell, walk the other way because these fuckers are the most dirtiest lying two face poeple you will ever come in contact with, change before its too late
Neer Nayan
April 5, 2013 9:19 pm
Dost, no community is 'dirty'. In fact, every community has some seemingly dirty elements.( We ought to refrain from calling even those 'dirty', as every creation of the Almighty has the potential to rise to the heights of nobility.) Let us do our best to follow the good path, and pray for a better future!
James Mckaskle
April 6, 2013 2:10 am
The sensible course of action would be abolishment of blasphemy laws and any other laws that exist for the purpose of empowering religiois nonsense. Instead, the religious response is to compound misery with more misery.
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