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Pakistan: Lahore HC Bar Association highlights need for action against blasphemers

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Islamabad [Pakistan], April 11 (ANI): The Lahore High Court Bar Association has released an “extremely concerning” notification, underlining the need for a witchhunt against supposed blasphemers in Pakistan, The Nation reported.

The notification of the Lahore High Court Bar Association showcases how little progress Pakistan has made as a country with regard to “weaponizing” blasphemy. Further, according to the news report, Pakistan has learnt nothing from the mistakes committed as a country which has led to international humiliation and condemnation of violent and intolerant mindset.

The notification has revealed that there are 400,000 blasphemers in Pakistan who have allegedly shared blasphemous texts or memes on social media, The Nation stated, citing reports. According to the notification, only 119 people have been arrested and 11 death sentences have been awarded.

The Lahore High Court Bar Association has called for a widespread crackdown on alleged blasphemers.

Keeping in view how blasphemy has been weaponised time and again, this seems to be another call to cater to the insecurity and intolerance Pakistan possesses as a society, the report stated, adding that celebrities and clerics on TV were calling for blood and spewing extremist rhetoric, in a “blatant attempt” at putting people’s lives in danger.

The news report called it imperative for Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to take measures in this regard, according to The Nation report. The issue is less about religion and more about catering to religious rights and diverting the attention of people from the real issues. Further, as per the news report, there has been an increasing push in recent weeks to “centre extremist groups”.

Earlier, in March, an anti-terrorism court of Pakistan convicted a man on the charge of committing blasphemy and other religion-related offences on social media and sentenced him to death, Dawn reported. A fine of Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 1.2 million fine was imposed on the convict.

The man was arrested by the FIA Counter-Terrorism Wing, Islamabad, on October 27, 2021, under the Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 295-A (insulting religious beliefs), 295-C (use of derogatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and 298-A (derogatory remarks in respect of holy personages), the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act’s Section 20 (offences against the dignity of a person) and Section 22 (child pornography), and many more, according to the Dawn report.

The case was filed by a resident of Punjab province’s Talagang district claiming that blasphemous content was uploaded on social media forums, including a WhatsApp group, the Dawn reported.

In the court, the judge declared that the prosecution had “fully” proved its case against the accused and that the evidence available on record connected him to the commission of the offences. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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