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‘Lunatic’ divorce bill draws backlash in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (UCAN): Pakistani Church leaders and activists have slammed the latest draft bill on Christian matrimonial laws for using offensive and derogatory terms.
 
On August 20 the federal cabinet approved the Christian Marriage and Divorce Bill 2019. One of its provisions states that among the grounds for divorce can be if “either party was a lunatic or idiot or a minor at the time of marriage.”
 

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Province offers funds for renovation of Karachi cathedral

KARACHI (UCAN): The government of Sindh province, Pakistan, is providing more than US$1.5 million ($11.7 million) toward the renovation of iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi which will be done over three years, beginning with the interior.
 
The foundation stone of the cathedral was laid in 1845 and the building is known for the richness of its stone, glass and timber craftsmanship.
 

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Seventy murders over Pakistan’s blasphemy law

WASHINGTON (CNS): Seventy people accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have been murdered in extrajudicial actions by mobs however, the government itself has not executed anyone found guilty at trial according to Peter Jacob, executive director of the Centre for Social Justice based in Lahore, Pakistan.
 
“The lethality of the law is not only tested by the law but by the people,” Jacob said during a mid-July interview.
 

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Pakistan’s bishops meet prime minister

ISLAMABAD (UCAN): A delegation from the Pakistan Catholic Bishops Conference (PCBC) met with the country’s prime minister, Imran Khan, on July 4 and handed him a check for US$35,250 ($252,567) for the construction of dams for the Diamer-Bhasha and Mahmand water reservoirs.
 

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Battling Chinese marriage scams in Pakistan

LAHORE (UCAN): Capuchin Father Morris Jalal was alarmed when one of his catechists shared the news that a young female member of his parish in Lahore, in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was about to marry a Chinese businessman, especially in light of recent stories about human trafficking between the two countries.
 
He immediately summoned the woman’s family to his parish office.
 

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Victim of forced conversion holds to Christian faith

KARACHI (UCAN): “I was a Christian. I am a Christian and I will remain a Christian,” Neha Pervaiz told a judge at the City Court in Karachi, Pakistan, while giving a statement on May 16.
 
The 15-year-old girl told the court that she was raped, forced to renounce Christianity and then pressured to marry a 45-year-old Muslim man called Imran, who stands accused of false conversion.
 

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Asia Bibi leaves Pakistan and joins family in Canada

Lahore (UCAN): Asia Bibi, the Catholic woman who was acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row in Pakistan, left for Canada on the evening of May 7, her lawyer confirmed.
 
“She was reunited with her family in Canada more than five hours ago,” Saiful Malook, who represented Bibi in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, said on May 8.
 

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Pakistani lawmaker asks pope to help end conflict with India

LAHORE (UCAN): Pope Francis was asked by Sunila Ruth, a Christian member National Assembly of Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, to “actively support and call upon the Indian government” to join dialogue efforts to help end the conflict between the nuclear-armed nations.
 

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Asia Bibi blasphemy acquittal upheld

ISLAMABAD (CNS): On January 29, Pakistan’s Supreme Court upheld its acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman who had been previously sentenced to hang for blasphemy. Tehreek-e-Labbaaik, an extremist group, had challenged the acquittal (Sunday Examiner, February 3).
 
The  mother of five is now free to leave Pakistan and is expected to join her family in Canada where they were granted asylum, the Associated Press reported.
 

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Pakistan court to hear challenge to Asia Bibi acquittal

LAHORE (UCAN): Pakistan’s Supreme Court will hear a review petition challenging the acquittal of Catholic death row inmate, Asia Bibi, on charges of blasphemy, it announced on January 24.
 
Muhammad Salam, a Lahore-based cleric, filed the petition last November after Bibi’s death sentence was struck down by the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment which drew praise from minorities and human rights advocates.
 

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