PM Gilani hints at review of ‘blasphemy laws’
07 August, 2009
LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani hinted at a review of the blasphemy law on Thursday, and said a committee will discuss “laws detrimental to religious harmony” and work on improving them.
Gilani’s comments came while on a visit to Gojra – where at least seven Christians were burnt alive on Saturday over blasphemy allegations.
“A committee ... will discuss the laws detrimental to religious harmony to sort out how they could be improved,” Gilani told a gathering.
He did not specify which ones, but his announcement suggests the government may seek to change blasphemy laws.
Gilani did not give a timeframe for the review – which is likely to run into tough resistance from religious conservatives – and his spokesman could not immediately provide further information.
Gilani announced Rs 100 million as compensation – matching a similar grant by the provincial government – for the victims of the Gojra riots, and vowed to bring those responsible to justice. He also designated August 11 as “a day for minorities”.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif – who was accompanying the prime minister – said no sum of money could heal the wounds of the victims.
Gilani and Shahbaz were earlier briefed on details of the Gojra tragedy, rehabilitation efforts and the steps being taken to prevent similar incidents in future.