Pakistani sentenced to death for blasphemy

July 16, 2014 - 2:07:27 am

LAHORE:  A court in Pakistan has passed a death sentence on a man convicted under controversial blasphemy laws for insulting Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), lawyers said yesterday.

Pakistan has strict laws against insulting Islam, which can sometimes carry the death penalty, but rights activists say they are often misused to settle personal disputes.

Zulfiqar Ali, aged in his 50s, was arrested in April 2008 in the eastern city of Lahore and accused of writing blasphemous slogans on walls.

Ali’s lawyer said his client was insane but Judge Naveed Iqbal passed the death sentence on Monday, prosecution lawyer Chaudhry Ghulam Mustafa said.

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.

“Accused Zulfiqar Ali has committed the act of blasphemy by writing the abusive sentences towards Holy Prophet on the walls of Nehru Park, Islampura,” the judge said in his ruling.

“He was caught red-handed. Police came there. He was also used to utter derogatory remarks on hearing the call for prayers.”