The United States rights commission has called on Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws after the local court decided to order the nation’s law enforcement probe against organisers of a march marking International Women’s day over allegations they committed blasphemy. US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner, Johnnie Moore on March 30 called the local court’s decision “shame to the wonderful Pakistani people.”
“Pakistan couldn’t even take a break on International Women’s Day from its draconian blasphemy laws. What a shame to the wonderful Pakistani people. USCIRF calls once again on Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws,” said US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner to Tuesday (local time) as per ANI report.
USCIRF’s comments came after a Pakistani court directed authorities to register a First Information Report (FIR)against the organisers of this year’s ‘Aurat March’ in Islamabad alleging that the participants displayed “obscene posters” and also made sacrilegious remarks against the religious leaders. Reportedly, the Karachi court had ordered the police to record a statement of an applicant and if any cognisable offence was determined, then register an FIR against the organisers of Aurat March.
The Aurat March is an annual event held in Pakistan across cities including Lahore, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar to mark International Women’s Day. It started in 2018 and is now carried out every year to observe the day celebrated to highlight the atrocities faced by women and uphold their rights.
Zardari noted the misuse of blasphemy laws
Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had previously also called against the misuse of blasphemy laws to target Aurat March organisers and termed it ‘regrettable.’ Zardari’s remarks came reportedly during a meeting with organisers of the annual march of Karachi chapter. The meeting with Aurat March Karachi was reportedly called following a flurry of hate, threats of violence and intimidation against women as well as the transgender and non-binary community who showed up to protest against oppression on International Women’s Day.