Unprecedented public indignation over the wave of attacks in Pakistan that have left eight Christians dead has led to the hope that changes in country’s laws will help protect minority groups.
The Pakistani media has extensively covered the recent killings in the city of Gojra and the resulting protests, strikes, prayer vigils and visits by the country’s leaders. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani recently visited the area, where he announced a review of Pakistan’s laws on religious minorities.
Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, told Aid to the Church in Need that this was a rare opportunity for the Pakistani government to introduce changes into the law.
“This is exactly the right time for the government to review the laws on blasphemy. At any other time there would have been a reaction against it, arguing that the honor of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed needs to be protected, but now the people can see very clearly the problems that these laws are causing, especially if they are misused,” he said.
However, he added, changing the law is not enough. “We need a radical change of attitudes so that people no longer emotionally react when they feel their religion is not being respected.” “What we have seen in recent days could lead people to think differently,” he said.