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Islamabad High Court proposes harder punishment for blasphemy law abusers


August 20, 2017: The Islamabad High Court has suggested handling the misuse of the blasphemy law by imposing the same punishment for those who misuse it or make false allegations, as the offence would attract.

Islamabad High Court proposes harder punishment for blasphemy law abusers

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui likewise ordered the ban of Facebook in case the website management does not comply with Pakistani laws. In March the court had issued a short order on an appeal to looking for blasphemous content being removed from social media. In his judgment Justice Siddiqui said it was better to prevent the blasphemy law from being abused, instead of abolishing it. He likewise clarified how individuals utilize the blasphemy law for their personal interest that how erroneously embroil those whom they have personal grudge with.

However, under the existing law, the false accuser can only face proceedings under Section 182 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK welcomed the Islamabad High Court’s judgment about amending the blasphemy law.

He said it is very unfortunate that despite being aware of the misuse of the law by people to take revenge and settle personal scores, with the very recent example of Mashal Khan, the government has failed to bring this law to parliament and amend it appropriately.

Mr Saeed stated: “Although there is a long-standing demand from human rights organisations to repeal this law which is being widely misused, because of the government inadvertence it is has become a very sensitive issue and even demanding change in the blasphemy law is considered blasphemy itself.

“But this is another opportunity for the government to bring this matter to parliament and have a debate to reach some positive conclusion.”

He added that to stop its misuse, the Government of Pakistan needs to introduce extreme punishments for false accusers as the current punishment is very minor, especially as most of the time people take the law into their own hands and decide the fate of the accused, which normally leads to the killing of innocent people.

The justice system is also slow and gives no security. A few people have been killed in police custody and if the case goes to court, it takes a very long time to decide, leaving innocent people to suffer needlessly.

Ranjha Masih spent eight and a half years in jail before he was demonstrated blameless and Asia Bibi has been moping in jail from 1991. Her case is expected to be heard by the supreme court of Pakistan but there is still no sign that her case will be heard sooner rather than later.

As indicated by a few reports, no less than 80 individuals charged over asserted profanation offenses have been slaughtered, while handfuls are moping in prisons due to false obscenity allegations against them.