Govt won’t allow anyone to misuse blasphemy law: Bhatti


ISLAMABAD: The federal government will not allow anyone to misuse the blasphemy law, Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti said on Friday.
After attending a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Minorities, Bhatti said, President Asif Ali Zardari had directed that a committee consisting of experts and scholars be set up to revisit and review the existing law so that innocent people could not be targeted.
He said a blasphemy case against Asia Bibi was baseless, concocted and malafide as the complainant and witnesses were not even present at the scene of incident. He said minorities had great respect for all holy prophets and holy books, adding that they were falsely accused in blasphemy cases. He said the blasphemy law was mostly used to settle personal scores, vendetta religious and political enmities.
The minister said there were lacunas in the registration, investigation and trial procedure of the blasphemy law, adding that the issue should be taken seriously to save the lives of innocent people, who were being victimised. He briefed the committee that Asia Bibi’s lawyer had filed a petition against a Session Court decision in the superior court on November 12 and the Lahore High Court had not fixed the date yet.
Bhatti said he had submitted a report on the case to the president in which he had recommended that Asia Bibi be pardoned. The minister said he had also recommended that all amendments made by General Ziaul Haq in connection with the blasphemy law after 1985 be repealed and the original law of 1860 to be enacted, which was acceptable to all communities.