protest against the change of the blasphemy law a year ago

A 14 years old christian learning disabled girl is in jail for more than two weeks accused of Blasphemy. Today a judge accepted a bail application for a total amount equal to 10,400 $ payable in two equal parts.  It is unlikable that her family would have the money to achieved the release of  the child because she was arrested in a very poor Islamabad neighbourhood. She was charged with the accusation of burning pages of the Quran The bail application has been accepted by the judge after the police arrested a muslim cleric on suspicion of planting pages of the Quran among some burnt papers to frame the girl. Burn the Quran is punishable by the Blasphemy laws in Pakistan with life in jail. Finally, the girl was released a day after the decision was announced and my comment was published for the first time.

This girl, a minor,  with learning disabilities and very low IQ according to the medical report is already in prison, surely terrified by something she doesn’t understand, separated from her family and in a hostile if not abusive situation, and is the middle of a national passionate discussion.

Pakistan, with 180 million people has a 97% of muslims and anything that sounds insulting the Islam or the Prophet Mohammed  is punishable by laws, even by death and also raises a lot of sensibilities, protests, even violence and retaliations.

Last year, Two politicians, Salman Taseer, and the minister of religion affairs, the Christian Shahbaz Bhatti, were killed after asking for the reform of the law against Blasphemy and more freedom for non muslims.

According to Al Jazeera, most of the victims of this strict law are muslims, over 15 cases every year and some use the lack of definition of blasphemy in the law to use it to personal vendettas.

Religion must be a question of respect and not of imposition and fear that needs laws like this one that permits that a 14 years old disabled girl from other faith is in jail and her bail set in an almost unbearable more than 10,000$,  for something she probably doesn’t understand.  With 97% muslims in a Country of 180 million people is difficult to think that the muslim religion is in danger to need defensive laws like one that permits stories like this.

Freedom and human rights have to be respected also.

I don’t know what happened with this girl to be arrested, but she is a minor and disabled and doesn’t deserve to be in jail for life for blasphemy. I only hope it will be justice for her, real justice. That she will be reunited with her family. And no retaliations, no fear, no violence on the streets and neighbourhoods after all this is cleared.

About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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World and Politics

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