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Blasphemy accused sentenced to death

January 24, 2014
Additional district and sessions judge Naveed Iqbal also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on Mohammad Asghar, a 65-year-old British national.  — File Photo
Additional district and sessions judge Naveed Iqbal also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on Mohammad Asghar, a 65-year-old British national. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: A court in Rawalpindi sentenced a self-proclaimed prophet to death on Thursday after convicting him of blasphemy.

Additional district and sessions judge Naveed Iqbal also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on Mohammad Asghar, a 65-year-old British national.

Asghar was arrested in Sadiqabad in 2010 after he wrote letters to different people, a police officer among them, claiming that he was a prophet. Police booked Asghar under section 295-C of the PPC.

The section reads: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Public prosecutor Javed Gul produced before the court a copy of letters which Asghar wrote to an SHO of Sadiqabad. Four police officials testified against Asghar.

The prosecution also submitted opinions of handwriting experts testifying that the letters were written by the accused.

In addition to the above-mentioned evidence, the prosecution used Asghar’s confessional statement to support its case.

Initially Sarah Bilal of Lahore appeared as defence counsel but later the government appointed a lawyer for Asghar’s defence after she expressed reluctance in pursuing the case.

The defence lawyer contended that since Asghar was suffering from mental disorder, his case should be treated on humanitarian grounds. The court constituted a medical board to verify the lawyer’s contention.

But the medical board said in its report that Asghar was psychologically stable and did not suffer from any disorder.