Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blasphemy Law & Use of Violence.


Pakistan’s Penal Code Section 295, better known as the Blasphemy Law, was first introduced to a pre-partition India in 1860. Back then, the law was applicable to every religion and any person with a maximum punishment up to two years with bail. And any disturbance of any religious gathering was also in violation of the law. There have been an estimated 1,274 people charged under the blasphemy laws between 1986 till 2010 according to reports. 1927: • There was an amendment made after the loss of a controversial case defended by India’s leading lawyer M.A. Jinnah. The Indian legislature cautioned against using the words “intentional outrage” or “attempted outrage” for their vagueness and instead chose to use words such as “deliberate” or “malicious intent.” REFERENCE: High-profile blasphemy cases in the last 63 years DAWN.COM | 8th December, 2010 http://dawn.com/2010/12/08/high-profile-blasphemy-cases-in-the-last-63-years/

Pakistani Muslims desecrated Holy Quran and Hadith Books in 2010 in Faisalabad Punjab

video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ4kouGpQmI

January 05, 2011 JI sees Taseer’s assassin in ‘seventh heaven’ In a shockingly blunt endorsement of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassination, Ameer Jamat-e-Islami in Sindh Asadullah Bhutto has declared that the assassin will directly go to the “seventh heaven”. He said this after a press conference addressed by JI Ameer Munawar Hasan at Idara-e-Noor-e-Haq on Tuesday. The press conference ended abruptly when a JI spokesman Sarfaraz Ahmad broke the news of Taseer’s assassination to Munawar. “Is he alive?” was his first reaction. “Whoever has killed him is a pious man and will go directly to heaven,” replied Bhutto to a question put forward by this correspondent. He even went on to say that Taseer would not have got killed if the government had replaced him. “Aasia Bibi will suffer the same fate if the punishment awarded to her by the court for using derogatory remarks against Hazrat Mohammed Mustafa (PBUH) is not implemented,” he added. Earlier, during the press conference, Syed Munawar Hasan said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) should also clear its position in Sindh after parting ways with the government at the Centre. He said that Altaf Hussain’s party’s stand would sound vague unless all members of his party resign, including the governor, resign and sit on the opposition benches. He said Altaf had twice contacted him on the phone to discuss the political situation. He was in favour of the government completing its five-year tenure, but he added the people should be provided with some relief by reducing the inflation rate and addressing unemployment issues. He informed the media that his party would stage a sit-in in Peshawar on January 23 against the forced disappearances and drone attacks. REFERENCE: JI sees Taseer’s assassin in ‘seventh heaven’ Shamim Bano Wednesday, January 05, 2011 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=23953&Cat=4



2011: The PUC chairman questioned that why the blasphemy law was not implemented when on 12th Rabbiul Awwal of this Islamic year (in 2010), some 750 copies of the holy Quran and several books of Hadith and Tafseer were set on fire by unidentified people at late Allama Ziaul Haq Qasmi’s residence in Faisalabad and a footage of this incident was also present. “After the incident, Sunni Ittehad Council Chairman Sahibzada Fazal Karim sought registration of an FIR under 295-C against Zahid Qasmi, son of late Qasmi. Both the sides, sects ‘Deobandi’ and ‘Barelvi’, requested police seeking FIRs against each other, but the issue was resolved later,” he recalled and questioned why such a settlement was not counted as blasphemy or profanity, the channel reported. REFERENCE Sentiments were exploited against Salmaan Taseer: Ashrafi * Pakistan Ulema Council chairman says whosoever declared it was justified to kill Taseer should come on media to prove his claim before nation Daily Times Monitor Sunday, January 09, 2011 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C01%5C09%5Cstory_9-1-2011_pg7_18


FAISALABAD: Relatives of a 12-year old Christian boy, whose mutilated body was found on August 20, along with other community members protested against the brutal killing on Narowal Road in Faisalabad on Wednesday. The body was identified by the relatives today. According to police, Suneel Masih’s body was found near Chamra Mandi by police Constable Ali Raza, who then filed a case against unknown persons. Raza said the murder weapon was also found near the body. Brother of the deceased, Pitras Masih said Suneel went out of his house to get food on August 19 but did not come back. The family – with the help of relatives and Christian leaders – searched for him but to no avail. Suneel’s body was kept in a hospital’s morgue and a post mortem was also conducted on his body. As per the details provided by Raza and the post mortem report, Suneel’s body had 23 injuries inflicted by a sharp weapon. His body was later burnt in an attempt to make it unidentifiable, the report stated. A police investigation team has been constituted to investigate the incident. REFERENCE: Body of murdered 12-year-old Christian boy identified By Shamsul Islam Published: August 22, 2012 http://tribune.com.pk/story/424774/body-of-murdered-14-year-old-christian-boy-identified/

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Everyone in the teeming, tense community of Muslims and Christians just outside Islamabad seems to have a different story about the young girl and the Koran. The 12-year-old Christian deliberately burned the Muslim holy book, some say. No, she innocently put pages from a non-sacred teaching text into the trash, say others, and nothing was burned. Still another version holds that an older Muslim boy planted pages of the Koran for the cleaning girl to find and then leveled the accusation of desecration because she had spurned him. Amid the conflicting claims, this much is certain: As many as 600 Christians have fled their colony bordering the capital, fearing for their lives, officials said, after a mob last week called for the child to be burned to death as a blasphemer. The girl, who authorities have described as mentally challenged, sits in jail in Rawalpindi, charged by police with blasphemy, while her family has been put in federal protective custody. The evidence against her is muddled at best, but police said they arrested her in part to assuage the mob and also because they knew she would be safer in jail. REFERENCE: Pakistani Christians, fearing backlash, flee community after girl is accused of blasphemy By Richard Leiby http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-christians-fearing-backlash-flee-community-after-girl-accused-of-blasphemy/2012/08/20/d3b23c9a-eae3-11e1-866f-60a00f604425_story.html


2011: Taseer killer's case should be decided as per Shariah law: JuD Lahore, Fri Jan 07 2011 Pakistan-based terror outfit JuD has asked the country's courts to decide the case of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer's assassin in line with the 'Shariah' or Islamic law and 'sentiments of Muslims'. Jamaat-ud-Dawah leader Maulana Amir Hamza, who is convener of Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool that has been opposing any move to amend the controversial blasphemy law, also hailed the clerics who refused to lead the funeral prayer of Taseer. Taseer, the Governor of Pakistan's most populous province of Punjab and senior PPP leader, was gunned down by his extremist bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri at a posh market in the heart of Islamabad on Tuesday for opposing the blasphemy law. Hamza asked courts to decide the case of Qadri in accordance with the Islamic law and the "sentiments of Muslims" of the country. "The courts must respect our sentiments," he said in a statement. The clerics, who refused to lead Taseer's funeral prayer on Wednesday, had proved that they had great respect for the Prophet Mohammad, Hamza said. "God will reward you (clerics) for your brave act," he said. After an influential grouping of scholars and clerics of the Barelvi school of thought asked Muslims not to offer or lead the funeral prayer for Taseer, the clerics of three mosques in Lahore, including the one at the Governor's House, refused to lead the 'namaz-e-janaza'. The prayer was finally led by a member of the PPP's clerics' wing. Hamza also criticised the US and European countries for condemning the murder of Taseer. The JuD leader also warned PPP lawmaker Sherry Rehman to immediately withdraw a private bill submitted to Parliament to amend the blasphemy law. He made it clear that "no one can think of changing the blasphemy law". Blaming Taseer for his death, Hamza questioned why the Governor had sought clemency from President Asif Ali Zardari for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed. "We want to tell everyone that there can be no debate on the blasphemy law," said Hamza of JuD, which is blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. REFERENCE: Taseer killer's case should be decided as per Shariah law: JuD Lahore, Fri Jan 07 2011, 14:36 hrs http://www.indianexpress.com/news/taseer-killers-case-should-be-decided-as-per-shariah-law-jud/734629/1

Gustakh E Rasool (s.a.w) Barelvi Say Barh Kar Koi Nahi Hai

video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxHbruPzSAk

Allaamah Kaukab Noorani Okarvi Declares: Deobandis are Kaafir (Apostate)

video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfde2WGvf3w

It is said that one of the key Cleric of Jamatud Dawa i.e. Maulana Ibrahim Salafi was allegedly murdered on the False Charge of Blasphemy by Rival Barelvi Sect in 2004

2004: ISLAMABAD: A senior leader of Jamaat-ud Dawa, the parent organisation of the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Toeba, was on Sunday shot dead by unidentified assailants in Lahore, police said. Maulana Ibrahim Salafi, 55, was killed while returning home after offering morning prayers at a mosque in Township locality, police in Lahore said. Salafi, who was a prayer leader at the mosque, was sprayed with bullets by the gunmen riding on a motorcycle, who fled after the incident. Salafi died on the spot. Salafi's murder followed reports in Pakistani media that a number of Jamaat-ud Dawa (JD) leaders, including its founder Hafeez Saeed, apprehended violence following the recent split in the organisation. REFERENCE: Jamaat-ud Dawa senior leader killed in Lahore PTI Sep 12, 2004, 06.31am IST http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2004-09-12/pakistan/27167556_1_jamaat-ud-dawa


Blasphemy Law & Violence - 1 (Reporter - Dawn News Jan 2011)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCP6zi5bZ0k

Imam lynched by mob for ‘blasphemy’ By Majeed Gill June 16, 2006 Friday Jumadi-ul-Awwal 19, 1427  BAHAWALPUR, June 15: A mosque Imam was killed while a religious leader sustained critical injuries in violence caused reportedly by sectarian tension between two Sunni sects in Choonawala Mandi near Hasilpur, about 90km from here, on Thursday. According to reports reaching here, the trouble started when Hafiz Qamar Javed, prayer leader at local Masjid Ahl-e-Hadith, burnt some trash near his mosque. The fire attracted neighbours, including people from the rival sect, who propagated that Javed was burning pages from Quran.

Within no time a huge mob turned up at the scene and attacked Javed. When Ahl-e-Hadith’s local leader Master Muhammad Sadiq came to his rescue, he was also beaten up severely. The assailants left the scene when the two fell unconscious. Police rushed to the scene after getting information. In a hurry, a police vehicle hit and injured Muhammad Nadeem (13). The mob then damaged the van and thrashed ASI Muhammad Nawaz, who also sustained injuries.

Later, the Hasilpur DSP and tehsil nazim reached Choonawala and managed to disperse the mob. The injured were rushed to the Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur, where Hafiz Qamar Javed succumbed to injuries while Master Muhammad Sadiq was in precarious condition.

Following an appeal, Choonawala traders’ president, shopkeepers pulled down their shutters to protest the ‘blasphemous act’.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that a case under the Blasphemy Act had been registered against deceased Hafiz Qamar Javed and injured Muhammad Sadiq while no case was registered against the assailants.

DPO Arif Nawaz was not available for comments. STRIKE: Shopkeepers of Dubai and Al-Karim plazas pulled down their shutters to protest the registration of cases against some traders by Kotwali police. The police had registered the cases on the report of Wasim Azam who had accused the traders of assaulting them. REFERENCE: Imam lynched by mob for ‘blasphemy’ By Majeed Gill June 16, 2006 Friday Jumadi-ul-Awwal 19, 1427 http://archives.dawn.com/2006/06/16/nat10.htm

Blasphemy Law & Violence - 2 (Reporter - Dawn News Jan 2011)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkgrjVmuNoc

Court jails imam and son for blasphemy 12th January, 2011 MULTAN, Jan 11: A court has jailed a prayer leader and his 20-year-old son for life on blasphemy charges in the rural heartland of the country, court officials said on Tuesday. The case follows the assassination of Punjab governor Salman Taseer by his bodyguard last week, after he called for reform of the blasphemy law under which a Christian woman was sentenced to death.

Mohammad Shafi, 45, and his son Mohammad Aslam, 20, were arrested in April last year for removing a poster outside their grocery shop promoting a religious event in a nearby village. The poster allegedly carried Quranic verses.

Judge Mohammad Ayub, heading an anti-terrorism court in Muzaffargarh, handed down a life sentence to the pair on Monday, his assistant Faisal Karim said by telephone.

According to the prosecution, the organisers of the event marking the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said the pair had “pulled the poster down, tore it and trampled it under their feet,” Mr Karim said.

“The judge sentenced them to life imprisonment on charges of blasphemy and ordered them to pay a fine of Rs200,000 each,” he said.

Defence counsel Arif Gurmani vowed to challenge the verdict in the high court because “it has been given in haste” and was the result of inter-sect rivalries, he said.

“Both are Muslims. The case is the result of differences between Deobandi and Barelvi sects of Sunni Muslims,” he said. “Shafi is a practising Muslim, he is the imam of a mosque and he had recently returned from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia… I am defending them because I am convinced they are not guilty of blasphemy,” he said. Nobody has been executed in Pakistan for blasphemy and those given the death penalty have so far had their sentences overturned or commuted on appeal.—AFP REFERENCE: Court jails imam and son for blasphemy 12th January, 2011 http://dawn.com/2011/01/12/court-jails-imam-and-son-for-blasphemy/

Blasphemy Law & Violence - 3 (Reporter - Dawn News Jan 2011)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAjIjqWpHTA

Court convicts imam and son for blasphemy AFP | 11th January, 2011 MULTAN: A Pakistan court has jailed a Muslim prayer leader and his 20-year-old son for life on controversial blasphemy charges http://dawn.com/2011/01/09/more-than-20000-protest-blasphemy-law-change-police/ in the rural centre of the country, court officials said Tuesday. The case follows the killing of Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer by his bodyguard last Tuesday, after the outspoken politician called for reform of the law that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman http://dawn.com/2010/11/12/christian-woman-sentenced-to-death-in-blasphemy-case-2/ to death. Mohammad Shafi, 45, and his son Mohammad Aslam, 20, were arrested in April last year for removing a poster outside their grocery shop advertising an Islamic event in a nearby village which allegedly contained Quranic verses.

Judge Mohammad Ayub, heading an anti-terrorism court in the central Pakistani town of Muzaffargarh, handed down a life sentence to the pair on Monday, his assistant Faisal Karim told AFP by telephone. The prosecution alleged organisers of the event, which commemorated the anniversary of the Prophet Mohammad’s birth, said the pair had “pulled the poster down, tore it and trampled it under their feet,” Karim said. “The judge sentenced them to life imprisonment on charges of blasphemy and ordered them to pay a fine of 200,000 rupees ($2,350) each,” he said. Liberal politicians and human rights activists in Pakistan say the blasphemy law, which carries the death penalty for the worst offences, is sometimes used to settle personal scores and encourages extremism.

Defence counsel Arif Gurmani vowed to challenge the verdict in the high court because “it has been given in haste” and was the result of inter-faith rivalries, he said. “Both are Muslims. The case is the result of differences between Deobandi and Barelvi sects of Sunni Muslims,” he said. “Shafi is a practising Muslim, he is the imam of a mosque and he had recently returned from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia…. I am defending them because I am convinced they are not guilty of blasphemy,” he said. Nobody has been executed in Pakistan for blasphemy and those given the death penalty have so far had their sentences http://dawn.com/2010/12/12/doctor-arrested-for-blasphemy-police/ overturned or commuted on appeal.

Since Taseer’s assassination, right-wing religious clerics have heaped praise on his killer and stoked controversy over reform of the law. The government has said it has no plan to reform the law. http://dawn.com/2010/12/30/govt-appeases-religious-parties-on-blasphemy-law/ The controversy was sparked when former information minister Sherry Rehman tabled a private member’s bill in November, seeking to abolish the death penalty for blasphemy. REFERENCE: Court convicts imam and son for blasphemy AFP | 11th January, 2011 http://dawn.com/2011/01/11/court-convicts-imam-and-son-for-blasphemy/

Blasphemy Law & Violence - 4 (Reporter - Dawn News Jan 2011)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjsSs712CSo

LAHORE, May 28: An under-trial blasphemy accused, who was attacked and wounded by a policeman on May 25, died in the Lahore General Hospital on Friday.

Labourer Samuel Masih (29) of Basti Saidan Shah had been accused of blasphemy in August 2003. The accused was caught by prayer leader Chaudhry Yaqoob of the Jinnah Bagh.

The prayer leader had alleged that the labourer had littered the walls of a religious institute in the garden, inscribed with some Quranic verses. Together with the prayer leader, dozens of people had allegedly tortured the accused before handing him over to the police.

A blasphemy case under Section 295 of PPC was registered against the accused with Civil Lines police and he was sent to the Kot Lakhpat jail. The accused fell ill there and doctors diagnosed him with TB in prison hospital.

He was shifted to the Gulab Devi Hospital. Two policemen were deployed on his guard duty. One of the policemen, Faryad Ali, on May 25 allegedly attacked him in his head with a hammer.

The staff caught the policeman and immediately shifted the blasphemy accused to the General Hospital where he died on Friday. The body was removed to the city mortuary for autopsy.

A case already registered against the accused policeman was turned into a murder case. He had already been sent to jail. The accused policeman is reported to have no regret for his act and believes that it will earn him paradise.

Condemning the killing, All Pakistan Minorities Alliance chairman Shahbaz Bhatti called upon the government to repeal the blasphemy law. "This is not the first example of the misuse of the law." He said his organization was going to file a petition against a senior police official and prison hierarchy for their negligence, which had resulted in the murder.

Already a writ petition filed by advocate Pervaiz Chaudhry in the LHC had pleaded for an action against the police hierarchy. The judge had directed the city police chief and the police concerned to produce relevant record before him on Monday, the lawyer said.

He alleged the police were attempting to give favour to their colleague by distorting evidence against him. "The accused policeman has been sent to jail without completion of investigation." REFERENCE: LAHORE: Blasphemy accused dies By Our Reporter 29 May 2004 Saturday 09 Rabi-us-Saani 1425 http://archives.dawn.com/2004/05/29/local25.htm

Blasphemy Law & Violence - 5 (Reporter - Dawn News Jan 2011)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3br0F_DIbok


"As it was the unanimous demand of the Ulema, Mashaikh and the people, therefore, I have decided to do away with the procedural change in registration of FIR under the blasphemy law" (General Musharraf, Dawn 17.5.2000). How was public opinion determined? No one asked me! Is the reference to ulema and mashaikh to the self-proclaimed ones or men and women of Islamic learning? And did populism prevail over Islam? Why was no attempt made to enter into a debate, or at least a learned Islamic discourse? What was the role of the two ministers (religious affairs and law) who are primarily concerned with this issue? One does not recollect any valuable contribution from these two sources. The sad fact is that deterioration has set in every aspect of national life. The most acute realization of this is felt whenever there is any interaction with the government. There is no substitute for learning and debate, and we are managing to do without either and consequently suffer. The government seems to have decided for all of us that in Pakistan 2000 our exposure to Islam is to be funnelled through the myopic, self-styled 'guides', whose principal contribution has been spreading hatred and attacking the foundations of the state. No attention is being paid to the true learned men and women of Islam, because unlike the camp which propagates violence in achieving their goals, these true Muslims do not make even a feeble attempt to be heard. Pampering this group does not serve the cause of Islam, is contrary to shariat and departs from the methodology adopted by Jinnah and those who devotedly worked for attaining this homeland. There is no substitute for knowledge, dialogue and niyat (intention). Let us learn a lesson from history. My father, Qazi Muhammad Isa, who was principally responsible for bringing Balochistan into the fold of Pakistan, was a member of the Balochistan Law Reform Commission. The other members included Balochistan's governor, Amir-ul-Mulk Mengal, and Mr Fazle Ghani Khan.These gentlemen informed me how my father had handled a potentially explosive situation. The Balochistan Law Reform Commission made visits to a number of different places to gather public opinion. On a visit to a traditional-conservative Pathan area they were accosted by the elders and ulema who demanded the enforcement of shariat and objected to the work of the Commission, which was perceived by them to be anti-shariat. It transpired that the local Pathans had taken strong exception to recording the names of their womenfolk on the recently introduced national identity cards. This according to them was un-Islamic and therefore unacceptable. My father inquired whether the delegation would be kind enough to enlighten him about the names of Islam's first convert and wife of the Prophet (PBUH) and the Prophet's daughter married to Hazrat Ali.Hazrat Khadija and Hazrat Fatima was the prompt answer. Upon hearing this, my father inquired whether the names of these distinguished ladies could be taken if Islam was against this practice. The delegation fell silent and abandoned their objection to the name insertion in the identity cards. They then said "zhumz shariat ghoaru" ('we want shariat') and not "Angrezi qanoon" (English law). My father responded that the Commission could report this desire and wanted the delegation to help them. He suggested that this could be done if the delegation was prepared to abandon certain prevailing but un-Islamic practices. He advised that they should waive accumulated usury which was due to them (Pathans being notorious and usurious moneylenders), stop the cultivation and trade in intoxicants (opium and hashish) and recognize the shares of mothers, widows and daughters in inheritance. (Men divide the ladies' shares among themselves and the revenue records of these and many rural areas of the country, reveal the virtual absence of a female population). The delegation immediately backtracked saying that this was not possible because these were their established tribal practices and had been validated by jirga. On being asked whether they wanted the endorsement of jirga practices contrary to shariat, the delegation beat a hasty retreat never to be seen or heard of again. Knowledge and reason were subsequently to prevail upon superstition and exploitation. The light of enlightenment vanquished the darkness of ignorance. Men of peace achieved this, men who adhered to Quaid's ideals and men who did not command armies. In contrast, an all-powerful government, having been granted by the Supreme Court the power to amend the Constitution, failed to effect, what from a legal perspective was an insignificant amendment in the law. The amendment which the government wanted to bring about was that any report of an offence of blasphemy should in the future be made to the district magistrate and not at the police station. A practice of settling personal vendettas by lodging false reports of offence of blasphemy (Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code) against a person or persons intended to be harmed has developed. The fact that in Pakistan lodging of such FIRs has become matter of frequent occurrence confirms the misuse of this provision of the law. Needless to stress that in a predominantly Muslim country any derogatory or disrespectful remark about the Prophet (PBUH) is unthinkable. Only one bereft of any reason or sense could risk inviting society's wrath and possibly worse by indulging in any such sacrilegious utterances. To check false allegations of blasphemy from being made and Islam wrongly exploited for vendetta or for settling personal scores, which is anathema to a (true) Muslim, it was essential that the power of the police to entertain an FIR be curtailed. In advocating such a change General Musharraf was not acting against the interest of Islam. NEED TO CHECK MISUSE OF BLASPHEMY LAW (28 May 2000) EDITOR'S NOTE: An article entitled "Need to Check Misuse of Blasphemy Law" by Qazi Faez Isa, was published in DAWN, Karachi, on Sunday, May 28, 2000 NEED TO CHECK MISUSE OF BLASPHEMY LAW BY QAZI FAEZ ISA http://ecumene.org/INRFVVP/blasphemy.htm Namoos e risalat or namoos e zia ul haq by Abbas Athar Daily Express 8 January 2010


Undoubtedly, he was well intentioned but perhaps did not have the requisite support from his team to counteract the agitators. Occupying ministerial positions but bereft of vision and knowledge they could only advise an expedient retreat. The action could only encourage the tendency to use religion to harass and persecute one's enemies and rivals. The insistence on retaining the jurisdiction of the police in preference to that of the district magistrate, who is a more senior member of the administration, is incomprehensible. Unless those agitating against the proposed amendment were doing so because they considered police stations more malleable and amenable to pressure and inducement and, therefore, were ideally suited to their questionable purpose and interests. Is our government so out of touch that it does not realize that the poor, the rich, the Muslim, the Christian, the literate, the illiterate, citizens of Pakistan, if they are united in a view, it is that Pakistani police stations are dens of inequity, and not citadels which best preserve Islamic values. The maximum punishment for blasphemy in Pakistan is death, or imprisonment for life, and also fine. There is no discretion for imposing a lesser sentence. The process which may result in the passing of this sentence commences upon the lodging of an FIR in a police station, often on payment of a bribe, and in many cases without a shred of evidence, except the word of a self-described alim. There is no punishment prescribed for lodging a false report. Eminent ulema have over the centuries written copiously on the subject. They have deliberated on whether blasphemy (insulting the Holy Prophet, sabb al-Rasool) without an element of apostasy (repudiation of Islam, sabb Allah, riddah) is an offence in Islam. They have considered the significance of the Prophet (PBUH) not acting against those who renounced Islam and vilified and defamed him. Included among these were Abd Allah b. Abi Sarh, Ikramah b. Abi Jahl, Safwan b. Umayyah, and Hinda, the wife of Abu Sufyan. A writer on the subject states that, "some Jews also addressed the Prophet with the words, 'death be upon you, (al-sam alaykum), but, in none of the reports did the Prophet order any punishment." They have thus determined that the offence is not hadd (ordained by God) but tazir. Imam Abu Hanifah maintained that a dhimmi (non-Muslim) is not liable to the death punishment for the offence of blasphemy. Islam is a religion which stands for peace and insists on justice. God almighty advised the Holy Prophet and early believers to develop their inner resources through patience and resilience. "Quite a number of the people of the Book wish they could turn you back to infidelity after ye have believed - from (their) selfish envy, after the Truth hath become manifest unto them, but forgive and overlook" (surah Al-Baqarah, verse 109). A commentator on this verse says: "It teaches that the success of Islam had naturally made the un-believers insecure and envious, and that under such circumstances a punitive approach would not produce the desired result". "And ye shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship partners besides Allah. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil - then that indeed is a matter of great resolution (the best course with which to determine your affairs)" (surah Al-Imran, verse 186). It is noteworthy that the law in its present form does not consider the question of repentance. Is this Islamic? "The Hanafis and the majority of the Shafis consider blasphemy to be in the same category as apostasy and have ruled that repentance is admissible in both cases. Thus, the blasphemer, like the apostate, is to be asked for repentance on three consecutive days, which will be counted from the time of conviction" (Freedom of Expression in Islam by Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali). REFERENCE: NEED TO CHECK MISUSE OF BLASPHEMY LAW (28 May 2000) EDITOR'S NOTE: An article entitled "Need to Check Misuse of Blasphemy Law" by Qazi Faez Isa, was published in DAWN, Karachi, on Sunday, May 28, 2000 NEED TO CHECK MISUSE OF BLASPHEMY LAW BY QAZI FAEZ ISA http://ecumene.org/INRFVVP/blasphemy.htm Abbas Athar Blasphemy Law 2 Express 2011

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