Christian lawyer Aric John’s house was attacked on February 25, 2016. Around 2:30 am unknown assailants fired at John’s house and then fled.
Aric John who serves as a lawyer at Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD) was previously threatened on his way to Kasur district. Armed men threatened John to abandon the case of Sajid Masih Gill who has been held since July 2013 under the accusation of blasphemy against the Muslim prophet.
Previously, the house of another lawyer from LEAD, Sardar Mushtaq Gill’s house was looted when nobody was at home.
In spite of such threats and intimidation John promised to work with LEAD, remain undeterred in tough times, and continue his services for victims of human rights violations.
The blasphemy law in Pakistan has been a tool in the hands of the powerful to exploit the poor and minority communities in Pakistan. Since its inclusion in the constitution, many have suffered due to false accusations of the blasphemy law.
Speaking against the law has also become extremely dangerous in Pakistan as can be analysed by the murder of the governor of Punjab who openly spoke about his opinions on repealing the blasphemy law.
Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code is applicable when the offender uses derogatory remarks etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet: – by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation innuendo, or insinuation, directly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable for fine.
In 1991, the Federal Shariah Court while, adjudicating a case, abolished the life imprisonment penalty thus making the Death penalty mandatory.
The significant feature of this Section is the absence of expression “willfully” or “intentionally” in the text of the Law. Closing the eyes to intentional or unintentional offence, the person charged under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code will always be awarded with a death sentence.