PAKISTAN – NO CHANGES TO “BLASPHEMY LAW”, SAYS PRIME MINISTER Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, announced at a conference on Tuesday 18 January that the Pakistani government has no plans to amend the country’s controversial “blasphemy law”, but he also warned that they were “not in favour of misuse of the law either”.

This announcement followed a violent attack on two Christian women, a mother and her daughter, who were falsely accused by a Muslim relative of insulting Muhammad in a domestic dispute in Lahore. The pair were so severely beaten that they lost consciousness.

The prime minister’s statement also came in the wake of the assassination of Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province and a senior member of the ruling party. Governor Taseer, a Muslim, had spoken out against the country’s “blasphemy law” and campaigned for the release of Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death under this law in November for defiling the name of Muhammad (see Prayer Focus Update, December 2010).

Taseer was gunned down by one of his own bodyguards on Tuesday 4 January. Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a member of the Elite Force, opened fire on the 66-yearold governor at close range. He was immediately arrested and has been charged with murder, terrorism and violence. He told reporters, “Salman Taseer is a blasphemer and this is the punishment for a blasphemer.” Friends of the governor say that he knew he was risking his life by speaking out but he refused to be silenced.

  • Pray for the family and friends of Governor Taseer in their bereavement. Pray that his death will not have been in vain and that, despite the prime minister’s statement, the government will listen to those who are bravely calling for the blasphemy law to be abolished.
  • Continue to pray for Aasia Bibi and others who have been accused under the blasphemy law. Pray that the healing hand of the Lord will be over the mother and daughter who were badly beaten in Lahore.

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