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Blasphemy accused killings shock Pakistan

ucanews.com reporter, Faisalabad

ucanews.com reporter, Faisalabad

Updated: July 22, 2010 09:13 AM GMT
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Tension at Faisalabad court on July 19 moments after the murder of two brothers accused of blasphemy
Tension at Faisalabad court on July 19 moments after the murder of two brothers accused of blasphemy
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The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the extra-judicial killing of two Christian brothers who had reportedly been cleared of blasphemy charges. Rashid Emmanuel, 30, and his brother, Sajid, 27, were gunned down by suspected Islamic extremists while in police custody on July 19. “It is obvious that the mere charge of blasphemy, however preposterous it may be, is now a conviction in itself,” HRCP chairperson Mehdi Hasan said in a July 20 statement. “The tragic incidents raise many questions,” Hasan said, particularly in relation to the failure of police security and the lack of a legal requirement for an investigation prior to registration of blasphemy charges. The HRCP also condemned the use of mosque loudspeakers to instigate violence against religious minorities. It urged the government to act against the promotion of hatred and to ensure that the attackers are prosecuted. The Catholic bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) also demanded a long term solution to the abuse of blasphemy laws. According to NCJP statistics, 35 Christians and Muslims have been killed extra-judicially since 1992 over blasphemy allegations. Meanwhile, several Faisalabad streets in the Christian majority area of Warispura are still empty as families have either fled or sent their women to other cities. Local Christian youths are criticizing Church leaders for failing to protect minorities as rumors fly of more Muslim mob attacks. Pakistan intelligence agencies also reported yesterday that terrorists are planning attacks on the worship places of minorities in the provinces. “We are being killed and persecuted,” Dominican Father Pascal Paulus told ucanews.com, adding that the Church is presently formulating defense strategies. “We are not politicians and will not organize any protests,” he said. Related reports Brothers shot dead in Christian-Muslim battle Pakistan Christians told to stay silent on Islam PA10509.1611

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