Islamabad: Four blasphemy suspects to be incriminated soon

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After being directed by the Anti-Terrorism Court, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a charge sheet against four suspects, booked on the charges of blasphemy. Followed by submission of charge sheet, the suspects are to face indictment on September 12.

Blasphemy law in Pakistan

The suspects were arrested earlier this year, on March 19. These suspects were booked by FIA under sections 295-A, 295-B, 295-C, 298, 298-A, 298-B, 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 11 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA), and Sections 6(f), 7(h), 8 & 9 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

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Since their arrest, all four suspects have been on judicial remand. They were booked on suspicion of disseminating blasphemous content on social media. Subsequent to the arrests, the ATC dismissed bail pleas from one of the four suspects.

In recent months, government of Pakistan in a bid to restrain hate content on social media asked Facebook and Twitter to help it pinpoint such users. By doing so, government will be able to prosecute the felons.

Social media giant Facebook in response to Pakistani government stated that it has reviewed all government requests cautiously, “with the goal of protecting the privacy and rights of our users.” In a statement Facebook maintained: “We disclose information about accounts solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law. A mutual legal assistance treaty or other formal request may be required for international requests, and we include these in our government requests report.”

Previously, in a similar case, another Pakistani 30- year-old Taimoor Raza was indicted after been booked over blasphemy charges. He was accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad during an argument on social media. A court in Bahawalpur handed out capital punishment to him, which remains the harshest yet for such a crime.