Friday, October 30, 2015

Pakistan's Supreme Court Warns Against False Blasphemy Allegations

Earlier this week, Pakistan's Supreme Court published the opinion of its 3-judge panel which earlier this month upheld the death sentence that had been imposed on Mumtaz Qadri, a former elite force guard who in 2011 killed Salmaan Taseer, governor of Punjab Province.  Qadri acted because of Taseer's support for a pardon for Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy. (See prior posting.)  The court used the opinion in Qadri v. State, (Sup. Ct. Pakistan, Oct. 7, 2015), to warn about the dangers of false blasphemy charges-- a significant problem in Pakistan.  The Court said in part.
In the following paragraphs of this judgment it shall be highlighted as to how the accused person in this case had acted on the basis of nothing but hearsay without getting his information ascertained, verified or investigated and, as Almighty Allah has warned, he has brought harm not only to another person but also to himself. Verily, such are the consequences when Almighty Allah’s warnings or commands are not heeded to....
Commission of blasphemy is abhorrent and immoral besides being a manifestation of intolerance but at the same time a false allegation regarding commission of such an offence is equally detestable besides being culpable. If our religion of Islam comes down heavily upon commission of blasphemy then Islam is also very tough against those who level false allegations of a crime. It is, therefore, for the State of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to ensure that no innocent person is compelled or constrained to face an investigation or a trial on the basis of false or trumped up allegations regarding commission of such an offence.
The Guardian reports on the decision.