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Ear to the Ground

Pakistani Politician Ends Bid to Change Blasphemy Laws

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Posted on Feb 3, 2011
AP / Fareed Khan

Supporters of Pakistani religious parties wave flags during a rally in Karachi last month to protest attempts to modify blasphemy laws.

Pakistani parliament member Sherry Rehman is the latest politician to contest the country’s controversial blasphemy law in a move that has led to threats on her life, but her efforts have been thwarted by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who made it clear earlier in the week that the issue was not up for official consideration or amendment at this point.  —KA

BBC:

Correspondents say Ms Rehman is one of only a few politicians prepared to speak out on the blasphemy law.

They say there has been a climate of fear since the murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer who opposed it.

Mr Taseer was killed in January by one of his bodyguards, who later admitted murdering the governor because he had spoken out against the blasphemy law.

Hundreds of people are in prison on charges under the law. Critics say it has been used to persecute minority faiths and is sometimes exploited by people pursuing grudges against others.

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