Another man shot dead in Pakistan for ‘Blasphemy’

BY STAFF REPORTER

A seminary student shot dead an elderly man accused of blasphemy in a court room in Peshawar city of Pakistan. Murderer who is in police custody now, sprayed six bullets straight into deceased’s body in front of a Session Court’s judge and a dozen of witnessed and lawyers during court proceeding.

Tahir Ahmad Naseem , the deceased, had claimed to be ‘Prophet’ and was arrested in 2018.

Khalid, the murderer, surrendered before the police and confessed his crime.

“The culprit accepts responsibility for killing him, and says that he killed him for having committed blasphemy,” said police official Ahmed. “[The suspect] has been arrested from the scene.”

According to police, Naseem had been in police custody since 2018 when he was accused of having committed blasphemy by claiming to be a prophet – a violation of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws that can carry the death penalty for certain offences.

A case was registered against Naseem under section sections 295-A, 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistani penal code, which deal with blasphemy against Islam, criminalising, among other things, “defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad”.

Media reports have suggested that at least 77 people have been killed in connection with the accusation since 1990.
Those killed include people accused of blasphemy, their family members, and lawyers and judges who have acquitted people accused of the crime.

Others killed in recent years include singers, teachers deemed to be advocating “un-Islamic” practices, and members of the persecuted Ahmadi sect.

In 2018, Pakistan’s Supreme Court passed a landmark verdict in the country’s most high-profile blasphemy case, acquitting Christian woman Aasia Bibi after she had spent nine years on death row.
Millions of Pakistanis including Prime Minister of Pakistan welcomed the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment of releasing Asia Bibi, a death row prisoner accused of blasphemy.

Although, a handful of hardliners denounced the judgement and took to the streets to protest her release, majority of Pakistanis breathed a sigh of relief that an innocent practicing Christian woman, a mother of five, was cleared of charges of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death the poor lady never committed.

Many hailed the verdict as an important victory for religious tolerance in Pakistan. Asia Bibi, a practicing Christian laborer in Pakistan’s Punjab province, had been languishing in jail for nearly eight years and was sentenced to death in 2010. The people who sided with her were threatened and even killed.

Asia Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 and sentenced to death by a lower court after she was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) during an argument with Muslim colleagues the year before. Her family filed an appeal following which, Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.

“This appeal is, therefore, allowed, the conviction and sentence of the appellant recorded and upheld by the courts below are set aside and she is acquitted of the charge by extending the benefit of doubt to her. She shall be released from the jail forthwith if not required to be detained in connection with any other case,” the verdict stated.

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