Home Go To Pakistan A WhatsApp post can get you death in Pakistan. It’s blasphemy of...

A WhatsApp post can get you death in Pakistan. It’s blasphemy of course

The accused, a resident of Islamabad, said she was pulled into a religious controversy by his male friend after she refused to be friendly towards him.

Pakistan flag | Representational image | Commons
Pakistan flag | Representational image | Commons

A Pakistani woman was sentenced to death for allegedly sending blasphemous messages over WhatsApp and Facebook, by a local court. Twenty-six-year old Aneeqa Ateeq was arrested in May 2020 and charged with posting ‘blasphemous material’ as her WhatsApp status and forwarding the same to a friend. She was accused of posting caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.

In Pakistan, blasphemy is an act punishable by death. The Rawalpindi court awarded her a death sentence under Section 295-C [blasphemy] and imposed a Rs 50,000 fine on her. The accused has also been given a 20-year jail sentence along with a total fine of Rs 2,00,000 under various sections of Pakistani Penal Code for hurting religious sentiments and posing as a Muslim.

“The blasphemous material which was shared/installed by the female accused on her status [on WhatsApp messaging platform] and the messages as well as caricatures which were sent to the complainant are totally unbearable and not tolerable for a Muslim,” the judge wrote in his verdict.

However, in her plea to the court, the woman said she was deliberately pulled into a religious controversy by his male friend and the petitioner of the chargesheet after she refused “to be friendly” towards him. The two had met online and connected on WhatsApp.

Reacting to the news, former Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani said: “blasphemy mania continues unabated. Why don’t they leave these matters to be judged by God, not fallible men?”

Author Asim Yousafzai said that “a WhatsApp post can get you death sentence in Pakistan.. while the killer of 144 Army Public School kids was let go out of the country from a safe house”.

Several other social media users expressed solidarity with the accused woman.

 

According to a report by Human Rights Without Frontiers, 1,865 people were charged in Pakistan for Blasphemy between 1987 and 2021. There was a spike in 2020, when over 200 cases were registered under the controversial law. Since 1990, 70 people have been murdered or lynched over accusations of blasphemy.

More