Pakistan’s blasphemy laws equated to ethnic cleansing, conference hears

A conference on Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws has heard the legislation has been equated to ethnic cleansing. 

It heard that the laws are vague and arbitrarily enforced by the courts and police while purporting to protect Islam. 

It was told that because of this, the laws permit and encourage abuse and the harassment and persecution of minorities in Pakistan. 
The conference also heard that the European Union is failing to help victims and pressure must be put on Pakistan to repeal its laws.
Around 16 people have been sentenced to death, and 16 sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Almost a dozen have been in jail for years and are still awaiting trial. 

In April this year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on blasphemy laws in Pakistan saying it strongly condemns the imprisonment and sentencing of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel. It called on the Pakistani authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them.