Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy protests showcase minorities’ plight

In November there were widespread anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad and other cities in reaction to proposed changes to an election law. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Anti-blasphemy protests in Pakistan have once again highlighted the fragile position of the country’s religious minorities. Life in various parts of Pakistan virtually came to a halt on Saturday (25 November) after the police, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies clashed with rioters in the capital, Islamabad, resulting in protests . . . Read More

What makes Pakistan’s small religious minorities so significant?

What makes Pakistan’s small religious minorities so significant?
Pakistan conducted its first census in 19 years in July. All the results have now been released, except those on religious minorities. The government has provided no explanation. On 22 November a small group of protesters, mostly Christians, gathered outside the Press Club in Lahore, the major city in Pakistan’s . . . Read More

Pakistan Christian sentenced to death for WhatsApp ‘blasphemy’, despite gaps in police case

Nadeem Masih
Six days after a Pakistani Christian was sentenced to death for blasphemy, the young man’s lawyer says there was insufficient evidence against his client and that the police failed to investigate the matter properly. Nadeem Masih, 24, from the Yaqoobabad area of the religiously conservative city of Gujrat, in Punjab . . . Read More

70 years after Pakistan’s founding, what PM’s recent ousting means for minorities

70th Annual General Assembly DebateMuhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventieth session.30 September 2015United Nations, New YorkPhoto # 646792UN Photo/Cia Pak
Pakistan celebrates its 70th birthday today (14 August). And there’s a new Prime Minister after Nawaz Sharif, founder of the largest political party, was disqualified by the apex court on 29 July on charges of not being “righteous” and “ameen”*. This Supreme Court decision about Sharif “will throw the governing . . . Read More

Pakistan: 3 months in prison for eating, drinking in public during Ramadan, $250 for providing food

Pakistan: 3 months in prison for eating, drinking in public during Ramadan, $250 for providing food
As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins, religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan have to be more careful about eating and drinking in public in the scorching heat: on the one hand, it can cost them physical public ire and physical violence; and on the other, in . . . Read More

Pakistan government to Facebook, Twitter: Remove insults to Islam

Pakistan government to Facebook, Twitter: Remove insults to Islam
­­­­­ A Pakistani government minister has asked Facebook and Twitter to remove content considered insulting to Islam or Muhammad. “We will go to any extent even if we have to go to the extent of permanently blocking all such social media websites, if they refuse to cooperate,” Interior Minister Nisar . . . Read More

Asia Bibi’s appeal delayed; 150 Islamic leaders call for her to hang, whatever the outcome

Asia Bibi’s appeal delayed; 150 Islamic leaders call for her to hang, whatever the outcome
After more than seven years in prison, the first Pakistani Christian woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy has had her Supreme Court appeal delayed, amidst renewed Islamist calls for her to die. Aasiya Noreen, commonly known as Asia Bibi, in prison since the summer of 2009, was arrested . . . Read More

5 Pakistani Christians released, 2 jailed for ‘blasphemy’ of calling pastor a ‘prophet’

5 Pakistani Christians released, 2 jailed for ‘blasphemy’ of calling pastor a ‘prophet’
Pastor Fazal Masih, who died 20 years ago, was hailed as a ‘prophet’ on a flyer inviting Christians to a memorial ceremony.World Watch Monitor   UPDATE (1 July, 2016):  Five Pakistani Christians charged with blasphemy last year in the religiously conservative city of Gujrat have been acquitted, but two others have been . . . Read More