Blasphemy Law In Pakistan

“Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to (a) God(s), to religious or holy persons or sacred things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable”
This is morally wrong and is legally punishable under blasphemy laws. However due to the non-uniformity of their application, limitations on basic Human rights like freedom of thought, conscience and freedom of expression, blasphemy law has had a longstanding contentious history. There has been a great polarity of application of such laws between different states since some states do not enforce these laws at all, some have abolished these laws and then there are some which have severe punishments associated to these laws, like Pakistan.
A change in dynamics
…show more content…
The British rule in the subcontinent introduced four laws for blasphemy held in the Indian penal code of 1860 section 295, 295A, 296 & 298, these were later subsumed in the Constitution of Pakistan on 1947 independence. These laws were introduced when socio-political tensions between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the subcontinent escalated. Notwithstanding, the number of cases brought forward were not much at that time, since only a total number of eight cases had been reported in Pakistan till 1986 under these inherited Britsh Blasphemy laws.
Some of these cases were Okil Ali v Behari Lal Paul 1962, where the defendants were accused of blasphemy and were sentenced with a minor punishment of imprisonment for three months. Noor Muhammad pld 1960 lah 657 the defendants who committed blasphemy through scriptures and publications were ordered to delete such libel as they could hurt the religious sentiment of the people. The courts’ interpretation of these inherited British laws was not strict and judicial execution was not
…show more content…
Sections 295 B, 295 C, 298 A, B and C, were made part of this Code through Presidential Orders by General Zia ul Haq. These provisions of the Penal Code state to protect the honour of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), the Holy Quran, the Companions and Wives of the Prophet while barring Ahmadis from preaching their faith and posing as Muslims.

The 2 main distinctions between the old law and the amended law were the addition of punishments for blasphemy by minorities (which is contrary to the popular belief in Islam which maintains that the position on Muslim blasphemers is more severe than of non Muslims since blasphemy by non Muslims is seen as an extension of their disbelief) and the addition of the provision of death penalty as a punishment for blasphemy discussed below.

With the implementation of these blasphemy laws the number of cases brought forward increased considerably. Reports show that since the 1986 amendment there have been more than 1274 reported cases in which hundreds have been imprisoned , hundreds have been forced to leave the country and more than 50 have been extra judicially executed by religious fanatics who interpret the judicial right of execution as their own right in the name of religion. These laws have since been frequently used to intimidate and persecute religious minorities or to settle personal vendettas. Once allegation of blasphemy surface,

Related Documents