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ACSJC calls for urgent action on Pakistan blasphemy cases

The Australian Social Justice Council is appealing for the community to take up the cases of Ayub Masih, a Christian, and Dr Younnas Shaikh, a Muslim - both Pakistanis who have been condemned to death under the country's blasphemy laws.

The Council's National Executive Officer Sandie Cornish said: "We have prepared an ACSJC Position Paper on The Death Penalty and the Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan, and shorter action leaflet outlining details of the two cases and actions that can be taken."

"Pakistan is attracting world attention as it plays an uncomfortable role in efforts to confront terrorism," she continued. "While international observers are concerned about the impact of religious extremism on the capacity of the State to support the International Alliance Against Terrorism, for ordinary Pakistanis, issues of religious tolerance and the rule of law are more than just a sideshow to international military actions."

In the statement announcing its initiatives on the blasphemy cases, the ACSJC congratulated its sister organisation - the National Commission for Justice & Peace of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Pakistan - on winning the fifth Tji Hak-soon Justice & Peace Award. The award recognizes the NCJP for its dedicated efforts over the last sixteen years to improve the human rights situation in Pakistan.

"The NCJP has worked in difficult and at times dangerous circumstances to defend victims of unjust laws, and to uphold human rights, by engaging in human rights education and activist training, and by involvement in advocacy activities," said ACSJC National Executive Officer, Sandie Cornish.

ACSJC Position Paper: Blasphemy and the Death Penalty in Pakistan
ACSJC Pakistan Campaign leaflet