Pakistan: Acquitted of blasphemy, gunned down anyway

If someone is accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, all too often he or she is brutalized or killed before any trial is held. Or even if acquitted, as in this case, the accused person is targeted by a Muslim mob that enforces the Sharia death penalty for blasphemy by a vigilante action. This is a human rights issue of massive proportions, and yet the “world human rights community” seems decidedly uninterested in calling upon Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws and combat blasphemy vigilantism.

“Pak man gunned down despite being acquitted in blasphemy case,” from the Press Trust of India, March 22:

A Pakistani man, who was recently acquitted in a blasphemy case, was gunned down in Jehlum district of Punjab province.

Sharafat Gola told police that his brother – Ashraf Gola, a former chairman of a district council – was travelling along with a friend Iftikhar Ahmed in a car when unidentified men intercepted it near Pind Dadan Khan, some 250 kilometres from Lahore, and sprayed it with bullets leaving both dead.

Sharafat said his brother was recently acquitted in a blasphemy case but those pursuing it had threatened him of dire consequences.

The district and sessions judge had acquitted Ashraf as nothing was established against him.

Police have registered a case against the unidentified killers.

The incident highlights how blasphemy accused are not safe in Pakistan even after being acquitted.

Earlier, another blasphemy accused had been shot dead after he secured bail in Punjab.

Human rights groups have alleged that Pakistan’s blasphemy law is often misused to settle personal scores and grudges.


Blasphemy laws in pakistan