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Muslim clerics to probe abuse of blasphemy laws

KARACHI: A group of senior Pakistani Muslim leaders from various sects says it will look into the misuse of laws that impose the death penalty on people convicted of insulting Islam.

The group says it agreed to form a committee to probe the issue after meeting Saturday with Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Activists say the blasphemy laws are often used to settle rivalries or persecute religious minorities. Earlier this month, a bodyguard killed the Punjab province governor because he opposed the laws.

Due to domestic pressure, the government says it won’t change the laws. But Saturday’s announcement was a sign it wants to soften international criticism of the laws.

Haji Hanif Tayyab, a Barelvi Sunni leader, says the committee will have 10 members representing multiple sects. – AP

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