TITLE=PAK / BLASPHEMY LAW / L-O
INTRO: Pakistan's military leader, General Pervez
Musharraf, has withdrawn a proposal to make a key
change in the country's controversial blasphemy law.
From Islamabad, Correspondent Scott Anger reports the
move follows pressure from Pakistan's religious
parties, which had threatened a general strike to
protest the amendment.
TEXT: Under mounting pressure from Pakistan's
religious groups, General Pervez Musharraf says he is
withdrawing the controversial plan to change the
In Pakistan, the death penalty applies for anyone
found guilty of insulting Islam or the prophet
Mohammed. Under the general's proposed change, anyone
with a blasphemy complaint would have had to register
the case with an area administrator or the district
commissioner. Now, complaints will continue to be
handled by the local police chief. The proposed
change was aimed at making the reporting process more
official and harder to abuse.
Human rights groups - both domestic and international
-- have been calling for the removal of the
controversial blasphemy law. They say it is often
used in cases of intimidation and revenge.
Since the military leader announced the proposed
change at a human rights convention last month,
religious parties across Pakistan had been condemning
the move. Religious leaders had announced a
nationwide, three-day strike to protest the change.
Pakistan's blasphemy law was introduced in the mid-
1980's by military dictator General Zia ul-Haq. It
was widely seen as a move to please the Islamic
fundamentalists in the country. (SIGNED)
17-May-2000 06:06 AM EDT (17-May-2000 1006 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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