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Dozens of Christians in Pakistan face charges of blasphemy, research published by the Catholic Church has found.  There are 187 live cases involving believers accused of insulting religion.  Suspects face execution or life imprisonment if found guilty.  Blasphemy accusations have in the past been made to settle personal vendettas against Christian. Fr James Channon from the Peace Centre in Lahore, said, “Blasphemy laws destroys the lives of those who have been accused, even if they avoid being executed.  “When Christians are accused of blasphemy, all Christians in the region are indicted with them.  This often leads to acts of violence against Christians.”

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have drawn international attention during recent years, in light of the lengthy legal case involving Asia Bibi.  The Christian mother-of-five sent eight years on death row after being accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.  She always denied any wrongdoing.  She was acquitted by the Pakistan’s Supreme Court in October last year; however, hard-line Islamists have been demanding a review of the ruling.  They say Ms Bibi ought to be publicly executed.  Fr Channon said: “Even now, after her acquittal, she is anything but safe. “Radical Islamists are trying to find her so they can kill her.  That is why she is currently under state protection.”

Source: Premier News Service