A Pakistani Christian man who is accused of blasphemy has been released on bail. Iqbal Masih was charged under blasphemy law section 298 PPC (Pakistan Penal Code) on November 4.
The section states that whoever with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
Masih was arrested on the same evening after the complaint was registered by local Muslim Mohammad Waqas Aslam.
Iqbal’s lawyer Nadeem Hassan applied for bail and the hearing took place on November 13.
Mr Hassan was able to convince Ms Afshan Sidra Judicial Magistrate, Model Town Courts Lahore to grant Masih bail on medical grounds.
“The influence of a given religion in a nation ought never to mean that citizens of another religion can be subject to discrimination in social life or, even worse, that violence against them can be tolerated.”...
- Pope Emeritus Benedict
“There is a very clear sense that people are nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a tool of politics or “…a mob thing […] ” he added, flanked by two Pakistani bishops. He earlier told reporters: “Equality under the law is important…”...
- Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
“The law for punishing blasphemy against the Prophet (sws) that is invoked in Pakistan has no foundation in the Qur'ān or Hadith.”...
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Renowned Quranic scholar & Islamic modernist theologist