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Monday 20 January 202017.00 to 19.00

Arafat Mazhar is a Pakistani researcher and human rights advocate whose work focuses on reforming the domestic blasphemy laws through an alternative indigenous framework. These laws, notorious for disproportionately targeting religious minorities and inciting mob violence, have been a matter of concern for the international human rights community for some time. Furthermore, blasphemy is a poignant case study for the way colonial laws have evolved in the Pakistani context and the issues faced by countries balancing differing legal paradigms globally.

Mr. Mazhar’s research argues that the conventional human rights framework has failed to make a constructive impact on the push for reform. His research focuses on the political history of the laws and a thorough exegesis of sources of Islamic jurisprudence to create a socially legitimate space for reform in the domestic discourse. In this talk, Mr. Mazhar will delve into Pakistan’s complex relationship with international human rights and the creative solutions local activists use to indigenize these crucial ideas.

The talk will be followed by a screening of Pakistan’s first animated dystopian short film. Drawing further on issues of freedom of expression and the difficulty of having conversations about the law, Mr. Mazhar will explore the potential of utilizing creative mediums and alternative storytelling to address complex sociopolitical issues.

WHEN: 5-7pm, 20th January, 2020
WHERE: LG04, 26 Bedford Way, UCL