Pakistan: Blasphemy laws

News India Times
It is not every day that I get a letter from the Death Cell, Central Jail, Rawalpindi in Pakistan.
As any Pakistani would be, I was aware that Central Jail was where the country's most popular democratic leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was executed more than two decades ago. By Akbar S. Ahmed.

The letter was dated April 15 and addressed to me and to a Pakistani colleague here in Washington. Written in a clear and neat hand, the sender's name made me sit up: Mohammad Younas Sheikh, who teaches at the homeopathic medical college in Islamabad. He is one of perhaps dozens of educators accused by their students of a crime that doesn't exist in many countries: blasphemy. Sheikh has been convicted and awaits execution, which is mandatory under the blasphemy law. Many other Pakistanis, particularly minorities, also have been charged. These cases offer an alarming glimpse into the machinery of state under Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Washington's partner in the "war on terror."