Father and Son get Life for blasphemy

Court convicts imam, son for blasphemy

MULTAN: A court has jailed an imam and his 20-year-old son for life on blasphemy charges in Muzaffargarh, court officials said on Tuesday.

The case follows the killing of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer by his bodyguard last Tuesday, after he called for reform of the law that was recently used to sentence a *Christian woman to death.

Muhammad Shafi, 45, and his son Muhammad Aslam, 20, were arrested in April last year for removing a poster outside their grocery shop advertising an Islamic event in a nearby village which allegedly contained Quranic verses.

Judge Muhammad Ayub, heading an anti-terrorism court, handed down a life sentence to the pair on Monday, his assistant Faisal Karim told AFP by telephone.

The prosecution alleged organisers of the event, which commemorated the anniversary of the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) birth, said the pair had “pulled the poster down, tore it and trampled it under their feet”, Karim said. “The judge sentenced them to life imprisonment on charges of blasphemy and ordered them to pay a fine of Rs200,000 each,” he said.

Defence counsel Arif Gurmani vowed to challenge the verdict in the high court because “it has been given in haste” and was the result of inter-faith rivalries, he said. afp


* Aasia Bibi

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