Death sentence for blasphemy: HRCP to help Younis Masih appeal
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said on Thursday that it would follow the case of Younis Masih, who had been sentenced to death on May 30 on charge of blasphemy. The commission said that it would help Masih’s counsel appeal to the high court against the sentence.
Talking to Daily Times, HRCP Punjab Chapter chairperson Hina Jillani termed the decision disappointing. She said that the commission believed that lower courts should not be allowed to decide blasphemy cases because they could succumb to pressure from extremists and might not be able to decide such cases purely on merit. She said, “The HRCP is against the controversial and discriminatory Law of Blasphemy and has been demanding that the government repeal it.”
Walter Fazal Khan, another blasphemy accused, who had been granted bail by another sessions judge, was detained in the lockup with Masih. He said that when he was set free on May 29, they had wept and Masih had asked Khan to pray for him. Masih was condemned to death a day after Khan was bailed out.
Factory Area police had registered a blasphemy case under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against Masih on September 10, 2005, after he had allegedly made derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at a Qawali function on September 9, 2005.
The lawyer of the accused said that Christians had arranged a spiritual gathering at Chungi Ammarsidhu in September 9, 2005, at which a neighbour, Abdul Aziz, also a complainant in the case, had objected and demanded that they perform Islamic rituals instead of Christian rites. The argument turned hot during which, the complainant alleged that the accused had used the derogatory remarks. ali waqar