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  • Writer's pictureKnox Thames

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are misused and in need of reform

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

The Aug. 18 news article “Pakistan arrests 130 people after churches attacked on blasphemy rumor” rightly mentioned the slow police response to stop the violence, but authorities quickly filed blasphemy charges against two Christians. Blasphemy is a capital offense in Pakistan.

Though it is positive that leading Pakistanis condemned the mob attack on churches, more than words is needed. Pakistan’s blasphemy law victimizes all Pakistanis, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, but with the most severe impact on minorities. Reform or repeal is desperately needed. But with elections on the horizon, positive change is unlikely, as extremists will push for even harsher penalties, and politicians will chase their votes to win a tight contest.

Knox Thames, Falls Church

The writer was a special envoy for religious minorities at the State Department in the Obama and Trump administrations.

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