Tuesday, July 15, 2014

When a fine is not fine

We do not quite comprehend the rules but is it fine to ask a man to pay a fine when he has already received a death sentence? It seems somewhat excessive.

Also we doubt that there is data, but the number of muslims accused under blasphemy law are considerable and may even exceed that of non-muslims.

Finally this happy detail which comes up every time: so far, no death sentence for blasphemy has been actually carried out by the state. We feel that this statement must be accompanied by the honest disclosure that the moment an accusation is made the man is as good as dead. People will march up to the police station and kill him and will walk away without breaking a sweat. And if someone is lucky not to get killed, it is permanent incarceration for him. That is the choice: a life sentence or a death sentence.
A sessions court on Monday handed down the death sentence and imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on a blasphemy accused after charges were proved against him.

Additional sessions court Judge Naveed Iqbal issued the ruling in the case.

The accused, Zulfikar, was 'caught red-handed' while writing blasphemous remarks on the walls of Afghan Park in Lahore's Islampura area in 2008.

He was booked under blasphemy charges on a complaint filed by area residents.
The area residents had also claimed that the man used derogatory language at the time of the azaan (call for prayer).

Though Pakistan has never carried out the death penalty for blasphemy, it is one of the countries to have the most people jailed over its blasphemy laws.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, where 97 per cent of the 180 million population is Muslim and the law, with a lack of procedural safeguards, has contributed to an alarming number of mob attacks and vigilante violence over the issue.

Pakistan in the past has urged the United Nations to make blasphemy an internationally recognised offense.

Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1119169/blasphemy-accused-sentenced-to-death



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