Blasphemy in Pakistan: Mentally ill brother jailed in blasphemy in Pakistan, found innocent after 10 years

Islamabad: A man in Pakistan has been proven innocent after serving 10 years in prison for the () charge. The big thing is that his brother had filed a case of blasphemy against this person. In 2011, Lahore’s Mughalpura police arrested a man named Asim Aslam on charges of blasphemy. An FIR was lodged against Asim by his brother Faisal Aslam under Section 295-B of the Pakistani Penal Code. While registering the case, Faisal Aslam himself had admitted that the brother accused of blasphemy was suffering from mental illnesses. Despite this, due to Pakistan’s poor law and order, a mentally ill person had to wait for 10 years to get justice. A trial court in Pakistan sentenced Asim Aslam, accused of blasphemy, to life imprisonment on the basis of his confession. Four years later, he challenged his conviction in the Lahore High Court in 2015. The Lahore High Court suspended Asim’s life sentence in 2021 and directed the sessions court to hear the accused afresh keeping in mind the mental health of the accused. The accused also filed an application for his acquittal under Section 265-K of CrPC. After which Judge Khalid Wazir of the Additional District and Sessions Court, accepting Aslam’s application, acquitted him of the charge. The court said that if it is not required in any other case, the accused will be released immediately.

is a weapon of torture
Blasphemy law is always used to persecute minorities in Pakistan. The law was implemented during the reign of dictator Zia-ul-Haq. The blasphemy law was made by adding sections 295-B and 295-C to the Pakistan Penal Code. Actually, Pakistan has inherited the blasphemy law from the British rule. In 1860, British rule enacted a law for crimes related to religion, whose expanded form is today’s blasphemy law of Pakistan.

Hundreds of people still imprisoned in Pakistan
Hundreds of people, including Muslims and Christians, are being held in Pakistani jails on charges of blasphemy. According to a report by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, there have been 776 cases of blasphemy against Muslims, 505 against Ahmadiyya community, 226 against Christians and 30 against Hindus from 1987 to 2018. Although none of them has received the death penalty, yet 78 people have been murdered out of court. Earlier, in a similar case in 2010, Aasiya Bibi, a mother of four, was also convicted for insulting Islam when she had a dispute with her neighbours. He claimed to be innocent but was kept in a dungeon for eight years. Later in 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted him. She was allowed to leave Pakistan the same year and is reportedly living in Canada.

blasphemy law being misused
A US government advisory panel report says that Pakistan has the most blasphemy laws in use of any country in the world. In other words, it is most misused in Pakistan. Actually the blasphemy law was made by the British in 1860. Its purpose was to prevent religious conflicts and to maintain respect for each other’s religion. Damage to a religious place of another religion or insult to religious beliefs or religious events was punishable under this law with a fine or imprisonment of one to ten years. According to a report by the Center for Research and Security Studies, there were seven cases of blasphemy in India by 1947. After the partition in 1947, Pakistan continued this British law, not only this, between 1980 and 1986 it was made more strict and the provision of death was added to it.

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