The European Union (EU) in a report has revealed that the government of Pakistan has rejected international demands to revise its blasphemy laws.
The report also highlighted the misuse of the law for ulterior motives, adding that mob violence has affected individuals, property, places of worship, and cemeteries.
EU has called upon the government to ‘protect life and property of all citizens and strengthen measures to prevent hate speech and mob violence.’
The report further states that blasphemy convictions often hinge on shaky evidence and procedures in the lower courts of Pakistan, which could potentially lead to a death sentence.
Additionally, Pakistan failed to implement the administrative safeguards mentioned in the previous report to protect defendants and ease the pressure on lower courts.
“No prosecution of false accusations of blasphemy, nor any rehabilitation of falsely accused defendants has been reported,” it added. The European Union has pointed out that the continued misuse of blasphemy laws infringes on the freedom of religion, belief, and expression, mainly affecting minority groups.
Pakistan registered a total of 681 cases of blasphemy in the years 2020 and 2021 under four sections of the Penal Code.
Although the majority of accused in blasphemy cases are Muslims, non-Muslim religious minorities as well as Shia and Ahmadis were disproportionately affected.