ISLAMABAD – Council of Islamic Ideology, top body of clerics tasked to ensure compliance of state laws with principles of Islam has suggested amendments to blasphemy laws to curb misuse of the same. Council has proposed death penalty for people who level false accusation of blasphemy against others.
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) met at Islamabad to discuss 21 point agenda including proposed reforms in blasphemy laws. Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani chaired the meeting. Council reviewed declared the Blasphemy Act as valid, legal and in conformity with Islamic laws. However, members of CII noted that misuse of the same is totally un-Islamic in nature and is also tantamount to blasphemy. Council proposed to introduce same (as of blasphemer) punishment to one who levels false accusations against others.
Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, noted scholar and member of CII told media that meeting considered all the suggestions brought forward by human rights activists, civil society, lawyers and parliamentarians and all scholarly members agreed to put a full stop to misuse of blasphemy laws by suggesting same penalty for levelling false accusations. Ashrafi added that proposed amendment will not only silence opponents of blasphemy laws but will also take care of those who use the same to settle personal scores.
Blasphemy is undoubtedly a sensitive issue for Muslims and is constitutionally addressed in Pakistan where a predominant portion of population are devout Muslims. However, blasphemy laws became controversial after being used to score personal grudges against each other. In certain instances unproven allegations provoked violent public response and accused were awarded death sentence by angry mobs rather than courts of law.
Misuse of blasphemy laws and extra judicial killings of accused resulted in calls for amendment into these laws from different segments of society. However, calls for amendment in blasphemy laws faced stiff resistance from the religious leaders as well as the society at large. Former Governor Punjab Salman Taseer and former Federal minister Shahbaz Bhatti mercilessly killed for demanding reforms in these laws.