(International Christian Concern) – In an interview with the Catholic News Service (CNS), Peter Jacob, the Executive Director of the Center for Social Justice in Pakistan, claimed that 70 people have been killed as a result of blasphemy accusations in Pakistan. The country’s notorious blasphemy laws are among the world’s harshest and are frequently abused against Pakistan’s vulnerable religious minority communities.
“The lethality of the law is not only tested by the law, but by the people,” Jacob explained. According to Jacob, the government has never executed anyone found guilty of blasphemy at trial. Instead, the people who have been killed as a result of the blasphemy laws have been killed in extrajudicial actions by mobs.
The victims killed include those directly accused of blasphemy and members of minority communities attacked by mobs seeking to punish those perceived as being similar to the individual accused of blasphemy. Attacks on entire religious minority communities following a blasphemy allegation are common and are exemplified by the mob violence seen in Gojra in 2009 and Joseph Colony in 2013.
International human rights experts claim Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are widely abused to settle personal scores or incite religious hatred. Because of this, Jacob, and many other activists, believe that the laws must be amended to safeguard against abuse.