Blasphemy in Pakistan
In January, Pakistan’s parliament passed through tough new blasphemy laws. Already boasting some of the strictest prohibitions in the world which include the death penalty for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, the new laws extend protections to the prophet’s wives and close companions, creating new offences with penalties up to life imprisonment. But Pakistan’s increasingly harsh blasphemy legislation is a disaster for religious minorities in the country, especially Christians, who are frequently targeted by malicious accusations of blasphemy. This can incite mobs who enact swift extra-judicial punishment, sometimes killing their victims. Others accused of blasphemy can languish for years on death row, including the infamous case of Christian woman Asia Bibi. There have even been high profile government ministers assassinated by their own bodyguards for daring to question Pakistan’s blasphemy taboos. To explore the fate of the persecuted church in Pakistan and how Christians can support their brothers and sisters besieged by blasphemy laws, this week we're joined by Simon, a South Asia expert from Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and Michael Nazir-Ali, a British-Pakistani former Anglican bishop and now Catholic priest.