The untold story of Pakistan’s blasphemy law

Source: Dawn

A few days ago, a video of erstwhile pop icon and widely heard Islamic evangelist, Junaid Jamshed went viral on the Internet, in which his remarks were perceived as blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his wife, Ayesha (RA).

By the time of the writing of this article, he has been charged under the Blasphemy Law (clause 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code). The clause reads:

295-C – Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet:

Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

The law prescribes a fixed death penalty for all those who are found guilty. The option of life imprisonment was made defunct after a 1991 Federal Shariat Court judgement.

Junaid Jamshed has already responded with a public repentance, re-affirmation of his faith and a plea for pardon.

Unfortunately, for Junaid Jamshed, the dominant religious narrative in the country holds that blasphemy is an unpardonable offence.

Simply put – you blaspheme, you die.


Categories: Asia, Pakistan

2 replies

  1. I wrote in Dawn: (not yet sure if they will publish it)

    Good article, but one main point is missing: Zia ul Haque revived the blasphemy laws with one target in mind: The members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. I recall that judges were quite puzzled when all of a sudden Christians were caught up in the net. Now the whole issue is totally out of control. In order to ‘repair’ the situation not only the blasphemy laws should be cancelled, but the root causes of it also: The ‘Anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinances’ of Zia-ul-Haque. (It is totally crazy that such Marshall Law Ordinances should survive after the dictator departed anyway). And while we are on it the 1974 change of the Constitution to declare members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as non-Muslim should be cancelled too. Let Allah decide whom He will accept as Muslims in the next world!

  2. Junaid jamshaid should be true to his own belief and support for this blasphemy law, come out of hiding, return to the country and present himself to the authoriries…and face the natural consequence of the law…

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