Press Release April 11, 2008
Karachi: In a joint statement issued to the press, Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Ghazi Salahuddin, the Vice Chairperson of HRCP Sindh Chapter, have strongly condemned the killing of Jagdish Kumar for alleged blasphemy and demanded that a high level judicial inquiry be conducted into this tragic incident.
Dozens of Muslim workers at a factory in Karachi beat to death a Hindu colleague on Tuesday for alleged blasphemy. Jagdish Kumar, 27, was tortured and killed at a leather factory in Korangi Industrial Area for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Prophet. Hindus make up less than two percent of the population of this overwhelmingly Muslim nation of 160 million people. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, although no one has ever been executed for it; however, communal tensions often run high whenever accusations of blasphemy are made, the statement said.
Incidents such as this in which people take the law into their own hands, meting out justice to alleged offenders, are shocking and deeply disturbing. This kind of vigilantism is encouraged by growing intolerance in society which itself is a result of laws that target the more vulnerable sections of society.
HRCP demands an immediate judicial inquiry into this tragic incident and urges the Government to take strong measures to prevent similar recurrences. The blasphemy laws, themselves, need to be repealed, the statement concluded.
Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairperson
Ghazi Salahuddin, Vice Chairperson Sindh Chapter