Pakistan court suggests changes in blasphemy law


Islamabad : A court in Pakistan has asked the government to make changes in the controversial blasphemy law to stop its misuse for personal interests and fix tougher punishment for any person falsely accusing someone of the crime, which is punishable by death.

Islamabad High Court Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued a verdict on Friday in the case regarding elimination of blasphemous content from social media.

In the 116-page detailed judgment, Justice Siddiqui suggested that parliament make the blasphemy law tougher by fixing the same punishment for any person misusing it or falsely accusing someone of blasphemy, Dawn reported on Saturday.

The judge explained how people due to their personal enmity managed to drag their rivals into blasphemy cases endangering the life of not only the accused person but all his family members and relatives.

Under the existing law, the false accuser can only face proceedings under Section 182 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Section 182 entails the maximum punishment of six months or a fine up to Rs 1,000 only. The judge said this is a very minor punishment for such a serious offence of accusing someone of blasphemy. He said that due to the misuse of the law critics even demanded abolishing it. He said that it was better to stop exploitation of the law rather than abolishing it. “Admittedly, not a single convict whether Muslim or non- Muslim has ever been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan,” the judgment added.

The judge referred the matter to the legislature to amend the law for awarding the same punishment for lodging a false complaint under the blasphemy law.

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