Washington, Oct.4 (ANI): Christians in Pakistan have been going through a harrowing time in the country with numerous violent attacks being reported against the minority community in the recent past.
Last month, severe violence had erupted in Punjab's Sialkot district. A Church was also torched by agitators claiming that a Christian youth named Robert Masih had desecrated the Koran.
Masih was promptly arrested after the incident, but was found dead in his jail cell on September 15. Police claimed Masih had committed suicide, but his family said Masih was brutally beaten and tortured during his detention.
According to The Washington Times, all the recent attacks targeting Christians, who accounts about four percent of the 170 million population of Pakistan, were provoked by hate speeches made by Muslim clerics on loudspeakers from mosques.
People believe that the rising intolerance and violence against minorities in the country was due to the promulgation of Shariah law and the increasing influence of extremist ideology.
"The rising intolerance and violence against Christians is a result of the Talibanization and promulgation of Shariah law in the country," said Kanwal Feroze, a renowned journalist.
"It is not a matter of blasphemy law, but shows a mind-set of the common man," Feroze added.
It is also believed that the controversial blasphemy law, which was introduced in 1986 during General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq's regime, has widened the gap between the minority Christians and majority Muslims.
It is worth mentioning here that in 1979, General Zia-ul-Haq introduced several Islamic laws, which strengthened fundamentalist organizations and also sowed the seed of Talibanisation of Pakistan.
Under the Evidence Act of the Islamic law, a Christian man's witness is worth half that of a Muslim. Christian women would not be deemed as witnesses at all.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had promised to review such discriminatory laws after the recent attacks and a committee has also been formed in this regard. However, political parties have already said that they would strongly oppose any change in the blasphemy law. (ANI)