Melon Farmers Original Version

Blasphemy in Pakistan

Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas


Update: Freely criticised...

The UN Human Rights Committee has told Pakistan to improve human rights and end its blasphemy laws

Link Here4th August 2017
Full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas
The UN's Human Rights Committee has told Pakistan to end its blasphemy laws and do more to protect religious minorities.

It criticised the Pakistani government's wider record on free expression, including its use of religiously biased content in textbooks and curricula in public schools and madrassas. Defamation is a criminal offence in Pakistan, and there have been legal crackdowns on the media.

It said Pakistan should review its laws relating to freedom of expression and repeal all blasphemy laws or amend them in compliance with the strict requirements of the covenant. Article 19 of Pakistan's constitution gives citizens the right to free expression, but allows for reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the 'glory of Islam'. Pakistan has also limited free speech for its broadcast media.

The committee asked Pakistan to report within a year to explain how it is implementing its recommendations on freedom of religion, conscience and belief.



Extract: Unreported outcome of Ofcom getting involved in blasphemy case...

Ofcom rules that a Pakistani news channel that sided with a religious lynch mob against GEO TV, should have also reported the views of the accused

Link Here18th December 2014
Full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas
Sometimes Ofcom has an unenviable job. The TV censor investigated complaints about one sided news reporting on the ARY News channel of a massively important blasphemy case against another Pakistani news channel, GEO TV, which was accused of blasphemy.

ARY News, 15-16th May 2014

ARY News broadcasts news and provides general entertainment programming, in Urdu and English, to the Pakistani community in the UK.

Six complainants alerted Ofcom to four news items as well as five editions of the programme Khara Sach, a current affairs programme broadcast between 14 May 2014 and 27 May 2014 by the Licensee.

The complainants objected to critical references on ARY News about the Independent Media Corporation, and in particular, allegations that services owned by the company, including Geo TV, had committed blasphemy against the religious character Mohammed.

Ofcom noted that the allegations of blasphemy arose from the broadcast of the programme Utho Jago Pakistan on Geo TV in Pakistan on 14 May 2014. This edition of Utho Jago Pakistan featured a re-enactment of the wedding of the programme's guests Veena Malik, a Pakistani actress, and Assad Khan Khattak, including a group of live musicians performing a renowned devotional qawwali. The singing of this qawwali during the re-enactment of the wedding was criticised by some clerics and parts of the Pakistani media as disrespectful to Mohammed.

We noted that the complainants in this case considered that the four news items listed above were not duly impartial. The complainants also considered the news items and the five editions of Khara Sach contained: one sided hate speech in all reports .

This religious song, playing in the background of a fake marriage led to inevitably extreme consequences.

The owner of Pakistan's biggest media group, Geo TV along with actor Veena Malik and her husband was sentenced to 26 years in prison by an anti-terrorism court for allegedly airing a blasphemous programme. Shakil-ur-Rahman, owner of Geo and Jang group, was accused of allowing the airing of a blasphemous programme by Geo television in May, which played a religious song while staging a mock marriage of Malik with Bashir.

The Judge also sentenced both Malik and Bashir along with TV host Shaista Wahidi for 26 years each. The ATC also imposed a 1.3 million Pakistani rupees fine on the convicts and ordered that their properties should be sold to raise the fine, if they failed to pay it.

The judge said in his judgment that all four accused committed profanity. There are reports that all four are out of Pakistan. Rahman resides in the UAE and the other three also went abroad after receiving threats by militant organisations. It is not known when the arrests would be carried out.

It is a little unfair to sum up reams of Ofcom justification in a couple of lines, but the most pertinent comments were:

Our view was that the alternative viewpoints presented during the programmes were insufficient, given the range and frequency of strongly critical comments against Independent Media Corporation and the Pakistani Government.

We also observed that: despite the fact that the story covered in the bulletins centred on material broadcast by Geo TV, during the four news programmes only one brief referencewhich could be reasonably described as offering the Independent Media Corporation's viewpoint was included (It just runs a ticker stating that they regret if someone's feelings have been hurt) and that this itself contained an implied criticism of that broadcaster.

We concluded that, on the specific facts of this case, the news programmes were not presented with due impartiality and were therefore in breach of Rule 5.1 of the Code.

(Rule 5.1: News in whatever form. Must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality) .



Offsite Article: The Kafkaesque reality of Pakistan's blasphemy laws...

Link Here 1st March 2013
Full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan's ambassador to the US, is under police investigation for alleged blasphemy after making the case on television for the law to be re-examined and for the death penalty to be removed

See article from


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