Date: September 8, 2017
In the latest twist of Pakistan’s attempt to introduce a global Islamic blasphemy law for social media the Islamabad High Court has ordered a complete ban on Facebook if the website management allows material judged to contravene the blasphemy law. However, in making his ruling the judge also noted the widespread abuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy law with false accusations frequently made to settle grudges. This is something that particularly affects Pakistan’s Christian minority who are particularly vulnerable as their testimony in court is often given less weight than a Muslim’s and defiling the name of Muhammad carries a mandatory death sentence in Pakistan.
The judge’s detailed written judgement noted that in the Pakistan Penal Code the maximum penalty for anyone making a false accusation of any crime is only six months imprisonment or a 1,000 rupee fine (which with inflation is now only about £7.50, $9.80, or €8.20 ). He therefore asked Pakistan’s National Assembly to consider amending the law so that anyone lodging a false complaint under the blasphemy law would receive the same penalty as a guilty person.
From Dawn newspaper here