Musharraf says Pakistan’s blasphemy law cannot be changed

January 18, 2011

musharrafFormer President Pervez Musharraf has said that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws could not be changed, but that the man who killed Punjab Province Governor Salman Taseer over his opposition to them must be punished.

Musharraf, who is planning to return to Pakistan to fight elections due by 2013, said blasphemy was an extremely sensitive issue for the people of Pakistan. “Therefore doing away with the blasphemy law is not at all possible and must not be done,” he told Reuters in an interview at his London home on Sunday.

(Photo: Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in New Delhi, March 6, 2009/Stringer)

Taseer was killed by his security guard this month after backing amendments to the blasphemy laws, which are often misused to settle personal scores. The man who confessed to killing him, Mumtaz Qadri, has been treated as a hero by some in Pakistan and religious parties have led demonstrations against any changes to the blasphemy laws.

Musharraf said that, rather than amend the laws, Pakistan needed to find ways to make sure they were not misused.

Read the full story here. For more recent Reuters coverage of the blasphemy issue in Pakistan, see:

Politics makes convicting Pakistani assassin difficult

Biden warns against Pakistan extremism

Mainstream extremism: is secularism dying in Pakistan?

FACTBOX – Pakistan’s blasphemy law strikes fear in minorities

Pope urges Pakistan to repeal blasphemy law

Governor’s murder deepens fears of Pakistani Christians

Bhutto pledges to defend minorities in Pakistan

Tens of thousands rally against changes in blasphemy law

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