Press Esc to close
Monday 02 May 2016
News updated at 8:59 AM IST
Weather
Max: 36.6°C
Min : 24.4°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

Pak court acquits Christian man on death row for blasphemy

Lahore, Apr 4, 2013, (PTI)

A Pakistani court has acquitted a Christian man who was sentenced to death for blasphemy five years ago, his lawyer said today.

Police in Lahore, the country's second largest city, arrested Younas Masih, 34, and registered a case against him under the controversial blasphemy law on November 9, 2005.

It was alleged that Masih had uttered derogatory remarks about "Qawwalis" performed at a Sufi gathering that fell within the ambit of blasphemy.

In 2008, a court sentenced Masih to death and ordered him to pay a fine of Rs 100,000.

Masih subsequently challenged the sentence in the Lahore High Court.

His counsel, Naeem Shakir, pointed out to the court that the FIR against Masih was registered a day after the incident was reported to police.

Shakir argued that police had failed to produce any "direct evidence" against Masih as their investigation was based entirely on hearsay.

The High Court allowed the appeal and yesterday set aside the sentence and fine awarded to Masih.

He is expected to be freed from prison shortly.

Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, where only about three per cent of the 180-million population are non-Muslims.

Mere allegations of blasphemy have triggered violence against minorities like Christians.

Several persons accused of committing blasphemy have been lynched in recent years.

Last month, a mob of thousands of Muslims ransacked and torched some 200 homes in Joseph Colony, a Christian neighbourhood of Lahore, after a Christian man was accused of blasphemy.

Rights groups have said the blasphemy law, which carries the death penalty, is often misused to persecute minorities and to settle personal scores.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Bollywood Actors Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor during promotion of their film Baaghi...

Bollywood Actors Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor during promotion of their film Baaghi...

Narendra Modi rides in an E rickshaw during distribution of E rickshaws in Varanasi...

Narendra Modi rides in an E rickshaw during distribution of E rickshaws in Varanasi...

RCB Skipper Virat Kohli with teamate Chris Gayle during an event at a mall in Bengaluru...

RCB Skipper Virat Kohli with teamate Chris Gayle during an event at a mall in Bengaluru...

A potter makes small earthen pots on International Labor Day, on the outskirts of Ajmer...

A potter makes small earthen pots on International Labor Day, on the outskirts of Ajmer...

Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan poses with newly wed couple Bipasha Basu and Karan Singh...

Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan poses with newly wed couple Bipasha Basu and Karan Singh...

A Mirage appears on the Rajpath as the mercury rises in New Delhi on Sunday...

A Mirage appears on the Rajpath as the mercury rises in New Delhi on Sunday...

eam Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico, right, and Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg...

eam Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico, right, and Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg...

A boy admires plastic balls put up for sale at India Gate lawns in New Delhi on Sunday...

A boy admires plastic balls put up for sale at India Gate lawns in New Delhi on Sunday...

Indian Air Force Helicopter collects water from Koteshwar dam during the rescue operation...

Indian Air Force Helicopter collects water from Koteshwar dam during the rescue operation...

Children enjoy in the waters of a fountain to beat the heat at India Gate as the mercury rises...

Children enjoy in the waters of a fountain to beat the heat at India Gate as the mercury rises...