August 18, 2009 second Pakistan update

On August 17, 2009, attorneys for ADVOCATES INTERNATIONAL (AI), the JUBILEE CAMPAIGN and the PAKISTAN CENTER FOR LAW & JUSTICE, following up on AI's August 11 press release, met with representatives of the Pakistan government to deliver a letter to the Ambassador of Pakistan requesting a transparent investigation and prosecution of all perpetrators involved in the recent burning of Christian churches, the dismissal of all pending blasphemy complaints on the grounds they are both unfounded and unconstitutional, and the abolishment of the Pakistan's blasphemy laws on the grounds that they are unconstitutional as applied, unworkable and counter- productive to any lawful purpose for which they were originally promulgated.


The Deputy Chief of Mission agreed that human life is very precious and that it is the obligation of the government to protect everyone within its borders.  He pointed to the restored democracy, Pakistan's vibrant Parliament, independent media expansion, and strong civil society as reason for optimism in light of the challenges faced by Pakistan due to regional and poverty factors.  Deferring to the Parliamentary process, he stated that a national debate in Parliament could lead to decisions in the best interest of society, including a repeal of ineffective laws. 


Advocates International applauds the Asian Human Rights Commission's recent report calling for equal protection of Pakistan's religious minorities 


Advocates International looks forward to working with like-minded NGOs, like the Jubilee Campaign, the Pakistan Center for Law & Justice, and  Asian Human Rights Commission, on the ground in Pakistan and around the world to achieve prosecutorial and investigative transparency, restorative justice for those unlawfully treated and the abolition of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.  


We also join with organizations like the Becket Fund in our opposition to the larger category of so-called defamation of religion laws currently being debated at the United Nations.