KARACHI: A sessions court on Thursday sentenced a man to life imprisonment under the blasphemy law.

Malik Mohammad Farooq was found guilty of tearing up a banner which was inscribed 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 court acquitted co-accused for want of evidence.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (east) Nadeem Ahmed Khan also imposed a fine of Rs50,000 and in case of non-payment the convict would have to undergo an additional six-month imprisonment.

The court in its verdict observed that three key prosecution witnesses, including the complainant, categorically deposed against accused Farooq and despite being subjected to lengthy cross-examination their evidence remained unshaken.

The accused took the plea in his defence that he was framed in the case since he had a dispute with the management of a mosque adjacent to his shop. However, the court ruled that the accused did not produce any evidence to substantiate his claim.

The case of the co-accused was on a different footing as two of the three witnesses did not say anything about his involvement and the complainant testified that the area people had informed him that the co-accused escaped after committing the offence from the place of the incident at that time.

The court further said that the complainant also deposed that he did not see the co-accused directly and was not sure about his involvement in the case. Therefore, the prosecution failed to establish its case against the co-accused, the verdict added.

According to the prosecution, the main accused and complainant Syed Tahir Hussain Shah had shops adjacent to a mosque in Qayyumabad and on Jan 16, 2013 the accused along with his friend had torn up a banner and thrown it in a dustbin. The area people captured Farooq, beat him up and handed him over to police along with the banner while the co-accused managed to escape. Later he was also arrested, it added.

A case was registered under Section 295-C (use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Korangi Industrial Area police station.

Opinion

In defamation’s name

In defamation’s name

It provides yet more proof that the undergirding logic of public authority in Pakistan is legal and extra-legal coercion rather than legitimised consent.

Editorial

Mercury rising
Updated 27 May, 2024

Mercury rising

Each of the country's leaders is equally responsible for the deep pit Pakistan seems to have fallen into.
Antibiotic overuse
27 May, 2024

Antibiotic overuse

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance is an escalating crisis claiming some 700,000 lives annually in Pakistan. It is the third...
World Cup team
27 May, 2024

World Cup team

PAKISTAN waited until the very end to name their T20 World Cup squad. Even then, there was last-minute drama. Four...
ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...