Pakistan court convicts imam and his son for blasphemy


LAHORE: A Pakistani court has sentenced an imam and his son to life imprisonment after convicting them on controversial blasphemy charges after they removed a poster containing Quranic verses, officials said.

Less than a week after Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was gunned down by a police guard for criticising the blasphemy law, Judge Rao Ayub of an anti-terrorism court at Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab handed down the sentences to Mohammad Shafi and his son Mohammad Aslam. Shafi, who is the imam of a mosque at Muzaffargarh, 400 km from Lahore, and his son were arrested in April last year for removing a poster for a religious gathering that was pasted outside their grocery shop.

The poster reportedly featured Quranic verses, officials said. The organizers of the gathering, which commemorated the anniversary of Prophet Mohammed’s birth, filed a complaint that alleged the duo had tore the poster and trampled with their feet.

After convicting the duo for blasphemy, Judge Ayub handed down two separate prison terms of five years and 10 years to Shafi and Aslam and ordered them to pay fines totaling Rs 210,000 each.


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