The Evolution of Legislation on Religious Offences
A Study of British India and the Implications for Contemporary Pakistan
The laws and legislation in Pakistan related to religious offences are intended to protect all religious communities, but have also become a significant threat to communities of religious minorities who are vulnerable to false accusation, violent retribution outside of the judicial system, and erroneous convictions that sometimes even lead to the death penalty. What is not well known is how these laws came about; from originally being designed in Chapter XV of the Pakistan Penal Code, to safeguard all religions of British India. Dr F. A. Nazir places the discussion of offences relating to religion in the historical context of the south Asian subcontinent, the institution of penal codes in British India during the colonial period, and developments in legislation after 1947 independence and the creation of the state of Pakistan and in postcolonialism. Dr Nazir’s historical and legal analysis demonstrates how these laws affect indigenous Christian communities and other religious minorities, including Muslim groups. Nazir’s thorough and rigorous historical research brings important understanding and reflection to contemporary religious laws, religious rights and multi-faith society in Pakistan.