BCA to Pakistan High Commission: Stop persecution of minorities

Members of Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA) holding a procession before handing over the memorandum on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 Collected

A memorandum was sent to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, and Speaker Asad Kawsar in this regard

The Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA) has handed over a memorandum to the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka, demanding a stop to the persecution and harassment of Christians and other minorities and demanding the repeal of blasphemy law in Pakistan.

Bangladesh’s Christian community leaders addressed the issue at a brief gathering in Gulshan-2 on Wednesday afternoon before handing over the memorandum. 

The written memorandum, signed by Nirmol Rozario, president of BCA, and Hemanta I Corraya, secretary general, says: “We have been concerned and aggrieved due to some incidents in your country in connection with the blasphemy law.”

International media reported that a Sessions Court in Lahore on September 8, 2020 sentenced Asif Pervaiz, 37, a Pakistani Christian, to death for “misusing” his phone to send a derogatory text message, according to the memorandum. He was also fined 50,000 rupees ($300). 

The death sentence came only days after a Christian man, David Masih, was charged with blasphemy after pages of the Quran were found in a drain in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. 

Pervaiz used to work in a textile factory in the Youhanabad area of Lahore and has been in police custody since 2013 after his supervisor brought against him a fabricated charge of sending defamatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad in a text message, the memorandum said.

Nirmol Rozario, president of BCA, said: “We call upon the authorities in Pakistan to drop all fabricated blasphemy charges against Christians and members of minority communities and release them with dignity. We also urge clemency for those already sentenced to death for blasphemy.”

He said that blasphemy remained a contentious issue in Pakistan and hundreds of Pakistani Christians and other minorities had fled the country fearing for their lives over allegations of blasphemy. Unproven accusations of blasphemy had led to extrajudicial killings, mob lynching and violent protests targeting minority community members. 

“We believe the blasphemy law is contradictory to fundamental rights of Pakistani citizens guaranteed in the constitution. The law is vague and arbitrary and leaves ample scope for misuse as we have seen that it has been abused to fulfil personal and communal hatred, revenge and enmity against innocent people,” stated the memorandum.

The signatories of the memorandum drew the attention of the government of Pakistan as well as lawmakers, politicians, the judiciary, civil society and the people of Pakistan in this connection and demanded a repeal of the blasphemy law as early as possible to save the minority people of Pakistan.

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