Pakistani imam, son jailed on blasphemy charges

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani court has sentenced to life imprisonment a mosque’s chief clergy and his son for violating the country’s blasphemy law, days after Punjab province governor Salmaan Taseer was killed for his remarks on the controversial religious legislation.

Justice Roy Ayub Marth of the anti-terrorism court in Dera Ghazi Khan also handed down a fine of Rs.220,000 each to Imam Muhammad Shafi, 45, and his son Muhammad Aslam, 20, the Express Tribune reported.

The punishment was given under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which prohibits the use of derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammad.

In addition, the two have been jailed for 10 years and fined Rs. 10,000 each for disrespecting or intending to disrespect other religions or faiths.

A case was registered against the father-son duo at the Daira Din Panah police station in Muzaffargarh district in Punjab province. They were arrested in April last year for removing from outside their grocery shop a poster announcing an Islamic event in a nearby village commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary.

The recent judgment comes close on the heels of the brutal killing of Taseer, who advocated for change in the blasphemy law which drew criticism from the moderate Muslims in Pakistan.

Taseer was killed Jan 4 by his own bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri, who confessed that he killed the governor for his remarks on the blashphemy law.

Filed under: Religion

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