Blasphemy law is not God-given, but man-made: Salmaan Taseer

Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer has said Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law is man-made and not God-given, and that his meeting with blasphemy accused Pak-Christian woman- Aasia Bibi- is being politicised, a private TV channel reported.

During an interview with the channel, Taseer said no Muslim could even imagine blasphemy, and added that the issue important for him was reviewing the Blasphemy Law.

“Even now, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan, Nilofer Bakhtiar, Sherry Rehman and others have talked about bringing a change in this law,”

He had conducted a complete investigation of the matter, reaching the decision that the law was used against Aasia, said Taseer, adding that he did not want to further comment on the issue, as it would be dealt in the high court.

The governor said that in his opinion, blasphemy itself was an offence, but to misuse it by falsely accusing someone was a greater offence.

The President has made it clear that Asia Bibi will not be punished: Salman Taseer

Earlier President Asif Ali Zardari’s top representative in the Punjab province, Salman Taseer, said, in TV talk-show “Tonight With Najam Sethi”, “The president has made it clear that she will not be punished. He will grant her a pardon.”

“This is a disgraceful case, it is a disgraceful law. It has to be repealed,” he added

Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab predicted an imminent award of clemency. He also said President Asif Ali Zardari has the power to overturn any punishment handed down by the courts.

Ms. Bibi’s case provoked international concern and even criticism inside Pakistan, where sensitive Islamic issues rarely lead to dissension or debate. Mr. Zardari is now expected to overturn her sentence and officials indicated Monday that a pardon is likely within the next couple of weeks.

Concerns law is being used to target Christians and minorities. Human rights campaigners and concerned citizens say the law is an instrument for terrorising minorities and has lead to dozens being jailed each year on trumped-up charges, targeting in particular non-Muslims. “This is a disgraceful case, it is a disgraceful law. It has to be repealed,” said Salman Taseer.

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