Gunman shoots Pakistan minister over blasphemy law

Gunman shoots Pakistan minister over blasphemy law
Pakistan’s interior minister, who has championed the country’s minority communities, has survived an assassination attempt by a gunman protesting against the country’s blasphemy laws. Ahsan Iqbal was shot in the arm before police overpowered his suspected attacker, 21-year-old Abid Hussain, the BBC reported. Iqbal was shot on Sunday (6 May) . . . Read More

Pakistan’s top judge says he’ll hear Asia Bibi’s appeal personally – and ‘soon’

Aasiya Noreen, a Pakistani Christian woman, has been on death row for over eight years for alleged blasphemy. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan’s chief justice says he will decide, “soon,” the fate of Aasiya Noreen, a Christian woman whose 2009 conviction on blasphemy charges has fixated world attention on the country’s treatment of religious minorities. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar told Noreen’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Malook, on 21 April that he would hear the woman’s . . . Read More

‘Extremists given a free hand’ – Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Pakistani Christians experience an increase in violence such as a suicide attack on the Bethel Methodist Church in Quetta in December last year that killed more than ten and injured dozens of people. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Two Pakistani Christians were killed and at least three injured in a drive-by shooting on Sunday (15 April) in Essa Nagri, a Christian-majority area in Quetta, capital of the impoverished Balochistan province in the southwest. The victims, aged 19 and 28, had just left a church service when they were . . . Read More

Commonwealth worst offenders urged to face up to poor levels of religious freedom

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari received Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Nigeria's High Commission in London on 11 April 2018. (Photo: Facebook)
A charity that supports persecuted Christians has urged Commonwealth heads of government meeting in England next week to address poor levels of religious liberty in their countries. The charity Open Doors warned that unless representatives of the 53 Commonwealth nations “explicitly include[ed] the right to freedom of religion or belief . . . Read More

5 years on, what has Pope Francis done for religious freedom?

Pope Francis greets people during his inauguration on 19 March 2013. (Photo: Getty Images)
Pope Francis, the son of Italian migrants, appeared on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica five years ago to be introduced as the first Latin American pontiff. Below, World Watch Monitor looks at a few of the highlights of his tenure so far, and his impact on freedom of religion . . . Read More

Pakistan court orders citizens to declare religion

Religious minorities in Pakistan have to declare their religion when applying for identification papers or for government jobs making them "even more vulnerable" activists say. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan’s citizens must now declare their religion when applying for identity documents, or if they want to work in government or register to vote, Islamabad’s High Court ruled on Friday (9 March). Applicants who disguise their true religion defy the constitution and betray the state, the judge said. Their true . . . Read More

Asia Bibi central to trade deals, EU tells Pakistan

Asia Bibi central to trade deals, EU tells Pakistan
The EU’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Jan Figeľ, told Pakistani officials during a recent visit that the renewal of their export privileges to Europe depends on the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010. “The EU countries have started . . . Read More

Pakistan student kills school principal in blasphemy row

Banner protesting against changes to the blasphemy laws, Peshawar 2017 (World Watch Monitor)
A Pakistani student has shot and killed his school principal after they argued over the student missing classes to attend protests over “blasphemous” law changes, reports The Guardian. Police said the unnamed student had attended a sit-in staged by a new ultra-religious party, Tehreek-e-Labaik, to oppose a small change in . . . Read More