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Pakistan parliament rejects call to soften blasphemy law

[JURIST] The Parliament of Pakistan [official website] Tuesday rejected a proposal to soften the country's strict blasphemy laws [text] that impose death or life imprisonment for insults to the Prophet Mohammed. Minno Bhandara, a Christian lawmaker in the National Assembly, had introduced a motion to bring the law more into line with punishments prescribed for insulting other minority religions. The ruling Pakistani Muslim League [party website] as well as opposition lawmakers vigorously opposed the idea. DPA has more.

Some had hoped that the blasphemy laws, which human rights groups criticize as easily subject to abuse, might be revisited in light of President Pervez Musharraf's stated policies of "enlightened moderation" [Washington Post report].

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