A court verdict sentenced a shopkeeper to life imprisonment under the blasphemy law on Thursday.
Malik Mohammad Farooq was blamed for tearing up a banner which was emblazoned with the name of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), Kalma Tayyaba, Darood Sharif and a picture of Kaaba in January 2013 in Qayyumabad. The co-accused was acquitted due to absence of evidence.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (east) Nadeem Ahmed Khan also levied a fine of Rs50,000 and in case of non-payment the prisoner would have to go through an additional six-month. imprisonment.
The court observed that three key hearing witnesses in its verdict, including accuser, firmly testified against suspected Farooq and in spite of being subjected to extensive cross-examination their proofs remained strong.
The suspect took the appeal in his defense that he was trapped in the case since he had a quarrel with the management of a mosque next to to his shop. The court, however, ruled that the suspect did not provide any proof to validate his claim.
The case of the co-accused was on a different foothold as two of the three spectators did not say anything about his involvement and the accuser stated that the area people had informed him that the co-accused fled after he committed the offence from the place at that time.
The court further said that the accuser also testified that he did not see the co-accused and was not certain about his connection in the case. The hearing therefore failed to establish its case against the co-accused, the verdict added.
According to the hearing, the key accused and accuser Syed Tahir Hussain Shah had shops next to to a mosque in Qayyumabad and the suspect along with his friend had torn up a banner and thrown it in a dustbin on Jan 16, 2013. The area people seized Farooq, beat him up and handed him over to police along with the banner while the co-accused succeeded to escape. Later he was also taken under custody, it further added.