Pakistan sentences Shia man to death for alleged blasphemy on Facebook

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Pakistan has sentenced a 30-year-old man, belonging to the minority Shia community, to death for allegedly posting blasphemous content on Facebook.

The sentence is the harshest among cyber-crime related sentences handed down so far in Pakistan. This is perhaps the first ever case in the world when a social media user was sentenced to death by the court of law.

ATC Judge Shabbir Ahmed announced the sentence for 30-year-old Taimoor Raza on 10 June in Bahawapur jail of eastern Punjab province. The trial was conducted amid tight security.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

Raza hails from Okara, situated at a distance of 200 km from Lahore. He was convicted for allegedly making derogatory remarks against about Sunni religious figures, Prophet Mohammad, his wives and companions.

According to reports, Raza was arrested in April last year after a debate about Islam on Facebook with a man who turned out to be a counter-terrorism agent. He was arrested by a counter-terrorism officer following a complaint that he was showing onlookers “objectionable material” on his cell phone at a bus terminal in Bahawapur.

It is rare for a counter-terrorism court to hear a blasphemy case. But the sections under which Raza has been charged included counter-terrorism offences linked to hate speech. Raza was charged under section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code (use of derogatory remarks, etc in respect of the Holy Prophet) and Section 9 and 11w of the Anti-Terrorism Act (which deal with whipping up sectarian hatred).

“Raza had been charged with two unrelated sections of the law to ensure the maximum penalty,” Raza’s defence attorney Fida Hussain Rana was quoted as saying.

It could be noted that Pakistan, which is a predominantly a Sunni Muslim country, remains indifferent to the Shias and other religious minorities.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan. Under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, anyone accused of “insulting” Islam can be sentenced to death. Dozens are sitting on death row in the country for alleged blasphemy.

According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the country last year had arrested 15 people – 10 Muslims and five non-Muslims – on blasphemy charges. Several other violent incidents linked to alleged blasphemy have alarmed human rights groups in the recent times.

Figures obtained from independent records suggest that there have been at least 67 murders in Pakistan over unproven allegations since 1990.

In April this year, a stick-wielding mob in Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan beat up a student named Mashal Khan to death following a dorm debate about religion.

In January 2011, a provincial governor was shot dead by his police guard who accused him of blasphemy after he criticised the law and defended a Christian woman sentenced to death.

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was convicted in 2010 for alleged blasphemy. Bibi is still in solitary confinement.

According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, four people were sentenced to death for blasphemy last year.

Pakistan, last year, had passed a controversial cyber crime bill called Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 that proposed strict punishment for cyber crime offences. Recently, the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan detained dozens of social media users under the act.

Pakistani Authorities have asked Twitter and Facebook to help identify users sharing “blasphemous content”. Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had threatened to block these social-networking websites in the country if they failed to cooperate.


Share This Post and Support:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.


Most read articles recently

‘Krantikari’ journalist Punya Prasun Bajpai sacked, again, this time from Surya Samachar

Punya Prasun Bajpai and his team of 25 had joined Surya Samachar last month

Twitter users attack Arvind Kejriwal after he shares an ‘anti-Hindu’ image

This is not the first time Arvind Kejriwal has hurt the religious sentiments of people

Watch: Embarrassment for Hardik Patel, crowd chants ‘Modi, Modi’ as he addresses a Holi event

Red-faced, Hardik Patel had to stop speaking and left the place soon after

AAP propagandist tweets false claim about Adani Group, deletes due to fear of defamation

Earlier Delhi's Education Minister Manish Sisodia had also tweeted false claim about Adani Group

Rahul Gandhi’s lucrative and seemingly clandestine means of income and his links to scam accused FTIL, Unitech

How does Rahul Gandhi earn to buy land and other properties? A mystery we try to unravel

The Wire journalist wishes Holi with ‘Bismillah’, devout Muslims say it’s against Islam

Celebrating Hindu religious festivals is not the only that triggers abuses and threats from Muslim radicals

BJP’s aggressive candidate list for 2019 election like a blizzard on Congress led by Rahul Gandhi

The boldness of BJP is apparent in that it has 21 present Union and ministers of state in the list, alongside the candidature of its party president, Amit Shah from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Jammu and Kashmir Police officer Imtiyaz Hussain claims his life being under threat after he exposed Pro-Pak Islamists and ‘journalists’

Jammu and Kashmir policeman reveals how certain 'journalists' work hand in glove with the enemies across the border in Pakistan

Fact Check: Did 350 people convert to Islam in New Zealand after the Christchurch Mosque attack?

Many people spreading a fake news on social media that 350 people converted to Islam in New Zealand after the Christchurch Mosque attack

What is Holi? ‘Liberals Of Delhi’ explain

While ruling India, Akbar introduced Indians to education, to cooking, to architecture, but also unfortunately to Holi.

Latest articles

Connect with us

148,296FansLike
120,048FollowersFollow
30,946SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these


Share This Post and Support: