Laws in place to award punishment in blasphemy offences: minister – 15 Feb 2023

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Tuesday said the lynching of a man accused of blasphemy in Nankana Sahib was tragic and highly condemnable.

`No one should be allowed to take law into their hands. Blasphemy laws are framed for deterrence and punishment is rigorous in such offences but the misuse of these laws can only be averted by taking strict action under the law against the culprits,` Mr Pirzada said during a meeting with a parliamentarydelegation of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Freedom of Religion or Belief from the United Kingdom at Ministry of Human Rights.

The minister welcomed delegates and said Pakistan had strong, strategically significant and long-lasting relations with the UK.

He claimed that the police had taken into custody many people involved in this heinous crime and they would be punished by the courts after due course of action and proceedings.

In Pakistan, state institutions and forces were fully vigilant about human rights violations, he said, adding: `We are victims of cross-border terrorism and vicious propaganda.

In response to a question posed by one of the delegates on steps taken by the state for protection of minorities, the minister said that there was a strong constitutional and structural framework present in the country for the freedom andprotection of rights of minorities.

He expressed that it was a fact that whenever a visit of international monitory or human rights organisation was expected, an untoward incident happened where foreign spy agencies of hostile neighbours were mainly involved in propaganda to defame Pakistan.

Delegates were further apprised that the National Action Plan on Human Rights would introduce policy and legal reforms particularly for priority segments of society.

In his remarks, the minister reiterated his commitment towards safeguarding and uplif ting minority rights in the country. He said that international human rights watchdogs showed vigilance on every single tragic incident happening in Pakistan but were easily overloole ing persecution of religious minorities and atrocities of Indian forces in Illegally India Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

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