‘Is criticising blasphemy laws blasphemous’

According to DAWN, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench hearing an appeal filed by Mumtaz Qadri – the murderer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer – asked his defence team whether criticising the blasphemy laws was, in itself, an act of blasphemy.

The IHC division bench consisting of Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, on Friday, read out a statement by Mr Taseer, where he called the blasphemy law ‘a black law’. At this point, the judge asked Qadri’s counsel, former Justice Mian Nazeer Ahmed, whether Taseer had blasphemed when he criticised a law that was promulgated during the regime of former military dictator General Ziaul Haq.

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Complainants against Avadhnama demand India have a blasphemy law

According to dna India, the complainants who filed a case against the Urdu daily Avadhnama demanded that the Indian government introduce a blasphemy law. They made the demand in a press conference held at the Mumbai Press Club.

he complainants spoke to the media after news stories appeared, stating that Shirin Dalvi, the former editor of the paper, was being hounded and targeted. The news stories also said that she had to go under the veil to protect herself from threats.

"In fact it is the employees of the organisation who are victims, have lost their livelihood as the paper shut down. The real issue is about the blasphemous cartoon but it is being made out to be Shirin Dalvi," said Saeed Hameed, resident editor of Shahfat, an Urdu newspaper.

The conference, however, did not feature any employee who is stated to have warned Dalvi for not republishing the Charlie Hebdo caricature of prophet Mohammed.

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Pakistan to execute 500 jailed militants in wake of Taliban school massacre

According to AFP, Pakistan plans to execute around 500 militants in coming weeks, officials said Monday, after the government lifted a moratorium on the death penalty in terror cases following a Taliban school massacre.

Six militants have been hanged since Friday amid rising public anger over Tuesday’s slaughter in the northwestern city of Peshawar, which left 149 people dead including 133 children.

After the deadliest terror attack in Pakistani history, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ended the six-year moratorium on the death penalty, reinstating it for terrorism-related cases.

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Peshawar attack: Taliban release images of gunmen who killed 132 innocent children as they claim massacre was justified

 According to Independent, the Taliban gunmen who stormed a school in Pakistan killing 148 people, including 132 children, have been identified by the militant group.

The Pakistani Taliban released the pictures as they issued a statement claiming the attack was justified because the Pakistani army had long been killing innocent children and families of their fighters.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani also vowed more attacks as he warned civilians to detach themselves from all military institutions.

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Mohammed Asghar, a mentally ill person will be shot in a Pakistani jail for blasphemy

By: Lesley Roberts 

According to Daily Record, two weeks ago, one of the police officers responsible for protecting him in jail decided to impose his own summary justice.

Mohammad Asghar had been lying in his prison bed – in part of a Pakistani jail reserved for those sentenced to death for blasphemy – when a guard walked in and fired a bullet into his back. A second shot missed.

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Pakistan’s blasphemy laws threatening EU relationship

For years now, the international community and human rights activists within Pakistan have been trying to draw the attention to minorities' rights in the country and the use of the blasphemy laws by hardline groups as a tool to oppress and prosecute minorities.

According to The Parliament Magazine, in the most recent incident, a 70 year old British citizen of Pakistani descent who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges was shot by his guard in a high security prison.

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PAKISTAN: ASPHYXIATING MINORITIES – ANALYSIS

By Ambreen Agha

Pakistan is increasingly failing to protect its minorities for two broad reasons: principally, rising religious intolerance and the space ceded to violent ideologies.— Sherry Rehman, former Ambassador to the US, 2011

Little noticed amidst the ongoing pitched battle led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led Federal Government, a group of protesters from minority communities held a rally in Badin District of Sindh on August 16, 2014, against the current Government’s failure to protect minorities from communal atrocities, including kidnapping-for-ransom, killings on religious grounds and abduction of girls for forced conversion.

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India makes 'liking' blasphemous content illegal

According to engadget, India's previously criticized Facebook for not censoring material that was critical of its government, so let's agree that the country has something of a strained relationship with social media. 

Now, however, the south-west state of 
Karnataka has announced that even clicking 'like' on a post could land you in jail for 90 days before you even get to see a magistrate.

In June this year Mumbai Police had issued a similar warning to citizens directing them to not ‘like’ objectionable posts on Facebook. Mumbai Police told that the people would be booked under section 66A of the IT Act and section 295A of Indian Penal Code, which deals with ‘hurting religious sentiments’, in such cases.

Because India has no blasphemy laws, any material that could offend someone's religious beliefs is prosecuted as hate speech, and that includes uploading, forwarding, sharing, liking and retweeting something. We hate to be cynical, but we can't imagine it'll be long before the first dissenting voice gets thrown in jail to protect the feelings of the general population.








Pakistan's Facebook dilemma

By Jahanzaib Haque

As of August 2014, there are 15.4 million Pakistanis on Facebook, representing approximately 8.5 per cent of the country’s total population; a virtual city set to rival Karachi in terms of sheer numbers.

According to Jakarta Post, Facebook is Pakistan’s largest social network, and — unlike when it was banned over ‘Draw Prophet Muhammad Day’ in 2010 — few would now argue that the site is simply ‘a waste of time’ or only for the ‘elite’ in society.

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A country where liberal journalists risk death

According to BBC, the life of a liberal journalist in Pakistan is not an easy one. Write about someone fighting a blasphemy case, or someone whose faith is considered heresy, and you may very soon find yourself in deep trouble.

Shoaib Adil, a 49-year-old magazine editor and publisher in Lahore, has many well-wishers and they all want him to disappear from public life or, even better, leave the country.

Since blasphemy charges were filed against him last month, the police have told him that he can't return home, he can't even be seen in the city where he grew up and worked all his life. It wouldn't be safe.

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Pakistani Man Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

Photo: AP

According to VOA, a court in Pakistan has sentenced a man to death on blasphemy charges.

Lawyers say a judge in the eastern city of Lahore rejected Mohammad Zulfiqar's defense of mental illness and convicted him for violating the country's blasphemy laws of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Zulfiqar was arrested for reportedly writing derogatory language against the Prophet on the walls of a public park in the Islampura area of Lahore in April of 2008.

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