A blasphemy convict, who spent 10 years in prison, has been released by a sessions court in Lahore.
As per the details, Asim Aslam was arrested on his brother’s complaint under section 295-B of the PPC in 2011.
The brother, Faisal Aslam, had himself admitted in the FIR [First Information Report] that the suspect had a history of mental illness, however, a trial court had awarded Asim life imprisonment on the basis of his confessional statement.
Asim had in 2015 challenged his conviction before the Lahore High Court (LHC), which had led to the court suspending the sentence and directing the sessions court to conduct a fresh trial in light of his mental health.
“He be released immediately, if not required in any other case,” read the order issued by Additional District & Sessions Judge Khalid Wazir.
‘MENTAL EVALUATION OF BLASPHEMY ACCUSED’
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws envisage death as the maximum punishment for insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) or his family and companions.
Rights activists have time and again highlighted the misuse of these laws for targetting the country’s vulnerable minority communities, mostly out of personal enmity. Concerns have also time and again been raised over the conviction of mentally unstable alleged blasphemers.
In the latest episode of ‘Live with Saif’ on Kross Konnection, renowned advocate Saiful Malook, who successfully defended blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi, suggested that the state shifted alleged blasphemers to a mental health institute for evaluation to prevent the chance of punishing the innocent as per Quranic instructions.
Earlier this month, a district and sessions court in Lahore acquitted a woman charged with blasphemy after it emerged that the complainant had molested the woman and then accused her of committing blasphemy to get away with his crime.
According to details, the woman named Fareeda had been accused of ripping and burning pages of verses from the Holy Quran which were quoted in a book titled, ‘Ramzan-ul-Mubarak Ki Ibadat.’ An FIR [First Information Report] was filed against her on December 19, 2020.
On Jan 19, a sessions court in Rawalpindi handed the death penalty to a Muslim woman charged with blasphemy.
Additional Sessions Judge Adnan Mushtaq convicted 26-year-old Aneeqa Ateeq of blasphemy under Section 295-C and sentenced her to death and a fine of Rs 50,000. She was also convicted under different charges, including 298-A PPC and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
The complainant Hasnat Farooq registered a blasphemy case against Aneeqa, wife of Ateeq-ur-Rehman, on May 13, 2020, in Islamabad for allegedly uploading blasphemous content against Prophet Muhammad and his wife Hazrat Ayesha on WhatsApp. She was also alleged of using Facebook to transmit blasphemous material to other accounts.