A Muslim man named Syed Muhammad Zeeshan was found guilty of sharing blasphemous content on a WhatsApp group by an anti-terrorism court in northwest Pakistan on Friday. He was sentenced to death by the court.
This act is regarded as highly sensitive in Pakistan due to its Muslim majority, with unverified accusations having the potential to incite violent mobs.
𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗰𝘁 𝗴𝗲𝘁𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵 𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘁𝘆, 𝟮𝟯 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗲
The court handed down a death sentence to Zeeshan, who was charged under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and Anti-Terrorist Act in Peshawar.
A copy of court order obtained by news agency AFP read: "Accused Syed Muhammad Zeeshan, son of Syed Zakaullah in custody has been convicted and sentenced after being found guilty."
Zeeshan, a resident from the northwest city of Mardan, received a sentence of 23 years in prison and a fine of 1.2 million rupees ($4,300).
𝗠𝗮𝗻 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝘀𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗺𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁𝘀𝗔𝗽𝗽 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗽
According to Ibrar Hussain, counsel for Muhammad Saeed, a resident of Talagang in Punjab province, the case originated from an application filed with the Federal Investigation Agency two years ago. The application accused Zeeshan of posting blasphemous content in a WhatsApp group. Zeeshan has the right to appeal the decision.
"FIA had confiscated Zeeshan's cell-phone and its forensic examination proved him guilty", he said.
𝗕𝗹𝗮𝘀𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗺𝘆 𝗹𝗮𝘄 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝗸𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻
Although Pakistan's laws banning blasphemy carry a potential death sentence, it has never been executed for the offense thus far.
While many blasphemy cases in Pakistan involve Muslims accusing other Muslims, rights activists caution that religious minorities, especially Christians, are often caught in the middle. In such cases, blasphemy charges are often used to settle personal disputes.
Over the last two decades, 774 Muslims and 760 members of minority religious groups were accused of blasphemy, according to the National Commission of Justice and Peace, a Pakistani human rights and legal aid group.
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