Lack of protection for minority communities and abuses of the Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan Amnesty International Report 2003.
04 Jun 2003
The state continued to ignore abuses inflicted by private individuals or groups against members of minority communities. At least 40 members of the minority Shi'a community, mainly doctors and other professionals, and some 65 Westerners and Christia
Preventive and protective measures were non-existent or inadequate, and action was taken to investigate such killings only following domestic and international pressure.
In October, two men entered the office of the Christian organization Commission for Justice and Peace in Karachi. They bound and gagged all members of staff and shot them dead. No one had been arrested in connection with the attack by the end of the year.
Abuses of the blasphemy laws
Several men were sentenced to death for blasphemy. Others accused of blasphemy were killed, some in circumstances suggesting official complicity or acquiescence in the killings.
Anwar Kenneth, a Roman Catholic who had claimed to be a prophet, was sentenced to death in July. His mental health had not been taken into consideration during the trial.
In June, a prisoner in Kot Lakpat Jail, Yousuf Ali, was shot dead by a fellow convict. His appeal against his conviction for blasphemy and death sentence, imposed two years earlier, was pending at the time of his death. Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool held prison staff responsible and ordered an inquiry but no further action was reported.
Zahid Mahmood Akhtar was stoned to death in July by a mob after a local Muslim cleric called for his death. He had claimed to be a prophet of Islam, and had been charged with blasphemy but freed on bail by a court in 1997 on account of mental illness. Police took no action for two weeks and then arrested several suspects.