The country’s controversial blasphemy laws are again in the spotlight as a court in the garrison city of Rawalpindi has handed down a death sentence to a 70 year old British man over this contentious issue.
Muhammad Asghar, belonging to the minority Ahmedi sect, was found to be writing letters claiming to be a prophet after which he was apprehended by the police in 2010. The special court inside Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, where Asghar is being held, rejected defense claims."Asghar claimed to be a prophet even inside the court. He confessed it in front of the judge," Javed Gul, a government prosecutor, told AFP.
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan, where 97 per cent of the population is Muslim, and insulting the Prophet Mohammed can carry the death penalty. But the country has had a de facto moratorium on civilian hangings since 2008. Only one person has been executed since then, a soldier convicted by court martial.
In 2006 the then-president Pervez Musharraf commuted the death sentence on a British man convicted of mu...
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