Supreme Court has limited powers regarding interpretation of Islamic laws related to blasphemy and its punishment

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Justice Asif Saeed Khosa

Supreme Court of Pakistan has limited powers to interpret the Islamic laws concerning blasphemy and its punishment.

According to details, while rejecting the petition of Mumtaz Qadri against the death sentence, the three member bench of the Apex Court said that Supreme Court has limited authority regarding interpretation of Islamic laws related to blasphemy and its punishment.

This three member bench of the Apex Court was headed by Justice Asif Khosa who in a six-page order in this matter said that the petitioner Mumtaz Qadri has utterly failed to prove through any legally acceptable evidence that the victim namely Salman Taseer had committed blasphemy within the meanings of section 295-C PPC. “No error patent on the face of the record has been pointed out by the counsel for petitioner [Qadri] qua such findings of this court,” said Justice Khosa.

The six-page order issued by the Apex Court bench said: “In view of the provisions of Articles 203G and 230 of the Constitution, the matter of interpretation of the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah falls within the exclusive domain and jurisdiction of the Federal Shariat Court, Shariat Appellate Bench, and the Council of Islamic Ideology with reference to an existing and proposed law and essentially.”

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The three-member bench of the Supreme Court further pointed out that the Apex court’s [SC] authority relating to such matters is restricted to use of principles where they are settled, adding that it is evident that the same also applied to the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The Islamabad high court, while issuing its ruling in the same matter, discussed the Islamic provisions.

While issuing the verdict over review petition, the Apex Court said it had abstained from interpreting the commands of Islam on blasphemy and its punishment, in view of which it was inferred that Islamabad High Court had done the same.