It will CU-SGP representative Van Dalen no surprise when the Pakistani government changes the law on blasphemy. "Something is changing," he said Wednesday evening just before returning from Pakistan.
The blasphemy laws are widely misused to fight out disputes between neighbors or financial issues, says Van Dalen. "Malicious neighbors see Christians soon something of blasphemy. There is also a victim of Asia Bibi."
Van Dalen could hear all conversations consent resonate with a ruling by Pakistan's Supreme Court last week. "It called for changes in the blasphemy law, in part because Christian minorities were often victims of. By this statement we found everywhere an open ear. A minister even promised our request on the agenda of the Cabinet."
But a remark in a judgment of a supreme court still does not lead directly to reform?
"Not in itself. Nevertheless, we noticed that it was taken. I think there is a change to. Something is changing. Of course, Pakistan is particularly sensitive in the wallet. Early next year we talk in Parliament about the position of Pakistan as a privileged partner. Then I insist again on reform."
You have also met the man of Asia Bibi. There were more alarming reports about her health. How is she?
"She's doing well. She has learned to read and will read daily in her Bible. She also enjoys certain freedom of movement. " -- Van Dalen (CU-SGP): Asia Bibi read daily in her Bible – Google Translation: Dutch to English; By Evert van Vlastuin; Reformatorisch Dagblad (About from Dutch Wikipedia – Google Translation); 11/5/2015 16:06, Updated 11/5/15 16:24)
Me thinks MEP Van Dalen from the Netherlands is a bit too optimistic about change in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It should be noted that the EU nations seem more accepting of Muslim immigrants than persecuted Christian refugees from Muslim dominated nations. Nonetheless it is my feeling that such promising words from a European Parliament delegation to Pakistan undoubtedly produces hope in the hearts of Pakistani persecuted Christians. I just pray it is not false hope.
EU Care for Pakistani Christians
EU delegation visit to Pak
EU delegation – Shamim Masih 2nd from Left
By Shamim Masih
Sent: 11/5/2015 2:52 AM
ISLAMABAD: European Parliament delegation urged Pakistan to bring reforms in blasphemy law and ensure the safety of the minority rights in Pakistan. European parliamentarians are aware and care for Pakistani Christians, said Peter van Dalen, a lead delegate.
According to the details, European Parliament mission led by Mr. Peter van Dalen (Netherlands), Mr. Arne Gericke (Germany) and Mr. Marek Jurek (Poland) visited Pakistan between 2 -5 November, 2015. The mission aims at a fact finding on blasphemy laws in Pakistan and their application. The delegation met high interlocutors from the government and representatives of the civil society. During the meeting with advisor to the Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz [See Also HERE], EU delegation demanded to carry out thorough review of the blasphemy law and its current application, in particular section 295-B & C of the penal code.
Peter Van Dalen, a lead delegate said that the EU believes that there is now momentum for Pakistan to start closing the dark chapter of its blasphemy legislation. By doing so, Pakistan would apply its founding principles, as well as its international obligations under for example the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the conditions attached to GSP+ trade benefits [See Also HERE] granted by the EU.
The EU parliament delegation has handed over the handout to the high officials including Sartaj Aziz and other high officials and demanded the safety of the minority rights. It said “the legislation which is supposed to protect and safeguard instead has drenched large parts of Pakistan’s society in fear. During the recent decade the security situation has gone to worse in Pakistan. Especially minorities of the country feel insecure in Pakistan thus Pakistan stands in the top ten source countries of people seeking asylum in the EU.” The EU parliamentarians said that the blasphemy law direct or indirectly affect them as well.
Later the delegation visited H-9 slum area and met with displaced people of Rimsha case (a Christian minor girl accused of blasphemy in Islamabad). The delegation ensured the slum settlers that the EU will support the slums of the capital as well the people persecuted in Pakistan. Peter Van Dalen also prayed for the safety of the community and a better future.
The sources confirm that the delegation visited Youhanabad and met with the victims of the incident. The Punjab government has arrested many Christians after the twin church blast in Youhanabad accusing them of lynching two suspects involved in bomb blasts [See Also HERE]. Joseph Francis, Director CLAAS, briefed them on the present situation of the case and also shared his concern in this regard. The EU delegation showed their greater sympathy to the victims and affectees of the incident. Later the delegation met with Asia Bibi’s family in Lahore.
Edited by John R. Houk
Text enclosed by brackets and all links are by the Editor.
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