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    Blasphemy conviction

    Man gets death, fine for blasphemy

    By Shahid Hussain

    LAHORE: An additional district and sessions court Saturday awarded death sentence and Rs 2,70,000 fine to Wajih-ul-Hassan in a blasphemy case here. Wajih was awarded capital punishment along with 10-year imprisonment under Section 295-A and three-year imprisonment under Section 298-A, which will run consecutively.

    Announcing verdict, the court observed that Wajih was not given benefit of Section 382-CrPC because the court did not take lenient view in the blasphemy case and also, it was not permitted in Islam. The court said every society was governed by laws which were essential to regulate life. "Absolute freedom exists only in jungle and societies need laws to regulate and protect life." The court observed that the Islamic Shariah laid down precise and effective laws to deal with anti-social elements.

    The Shariah encourages healthy behaviour, but it also prescribes severe punishment for such crimes as blasphemy, apostasy, adultery, murder, hypocrisy in faith, spying, stealing, etc. Such crimes and their perpetrators are considered a poison for the entire society. "In Islam, there are clear rules and regulations to check every kind of mischief and the Shariah shows no leniency to those whose evil and malicious conduct tarnishes the dignity and honour of the Ummah."

    Wajih-ul-Hassan was arrested on May 25, 2001 by the Iqbal Town police, following an FIR registered on March 21, 1999 on the complaint of Ismail Qureshi, former president of Lahore High Court Bar Association and Chairman of World Association of Muslim Jurists. Qureshi alleged that Wajih sent him letters full of filthy language against Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his wives and companions.

    Wajih was indicted on August 16, 2001, but he pleaded not guilty. As many as 11 witnesses appeared against him. They were Muhammad Waseem, Muhammad Naveed, Waseem Qureshi, Atiq-ur-Rehman, Mumtaz Hussain, Ismail Qureshi, Muhammad Mansha, Saeed Khursheed, Muhammad Bashir Qureshi, Shehzad Kamal and Hassan Nawaz Tarrar.

    According to the complainant, he received some letters in six weeks in which derogatory remarks were passed against the Holy Prophet. He tried to trace out the accused, but he was found nowhere. He again received a letter on October 21, 1998 in which the accused used the language which a Muslim could never do. On November 3, he received a call from him and he moved an application to keep his telephones under observation.

    The next day, he received another call which was traced. He then came to know that Raja Wajih-ul-Hassan, a Christian convert and known as Murshid Masih, had written the letters. He got an FIR registered and Wajih was arrested after 14 months. He was initially tried by an anti-terrorism court, but, due to changes in law, his case was transferred to the sessions court.

    In its judgement on Saturday, the sessions court observed that Wajih made an extra-judicial confessional statement before prosecution witnesses Waseem, manager of Crown Steel, and his friend Naveed, that he had been converted to Mirzait. He also confessed before them that he wrote the letters to Ismail Qureshi in which derogatory language was used against the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

    The letters were sent to handwriting experts who opined that the writing had identical characteristics. The court observed that Wajih remained fugitive for 14 months and the defence version was not true. All circumstances lead to the conclusion that Wajih wrote the letters and despatched them to Ismail Qureshi. Wajih stated before the court that he "is a Muslim and all the allegations levelled against him are false". He said the motive behind the incident was that an FIR was registered by human rights activists Asma Jehangir and Hina Jillani against Ismail Qureshi after which he nursed grudge against her and tried to involve her in the case through him.

    He said he and his father worked in the office of Asma Jehangir's husband. After some time, he left the office and joined the Crown Steel where Waseem Mughal (prosecution witness) was manager. He left that job and joined Tableeghi Jamaat for four months. During that time, Waseem called him on telephone for a meeting 15 days prior to his arrest. "When I reached the meeting spot, I found Naveed (PW) and advocate Mustafa who took me to Lahore Cantt and tortured. I was confined for 15 days during which they came up with some letters and forced me to confess that these letters were written by me," he said, adding that they also forced me to admit that those letters were written by Asma Jehangir.

    It is worth-mentioning that Ismail Qureshi is the author of a book, Namoos-e-Rasul, and Law of Contempt of Holy Prophet (PBUH). He conducted many blasphemy cases. Some cases were registered against him on the allegation that some young men attempted to murder Asma Jehangir and Hina Jillani after reading his books. Wajih-ul-Hassan was taken to the court in tight security. A number of police officials were deployed on court premises. They did not let anybody meet Wajih. While being taken to jail, Wajih talked to mediamen and said he was a true muslim and had not written any blasphemous matter.

    There is no Punishment for Blasphemy in Islam !!!

    The fair name of Islam has recently been darkened by the murderous directive issued by certain Muslim leaders and endorsed by their supporters that Salman Rusdhie must be assassinated as a result of his making blasphemous remarks about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in his book Satanic Verses. No doubt Salman Rushdie has been guilty of blasphemy but this is not an offence for which the death penalty is prescribed by Islam. Not at all. No such instruction is contained in the holy Quran and it is a significant point to bear in mind that not one protagonist demanding his assassination has quoted a single verse from the Holy Quran as a basis of authority.
    No Prophet of God was more blasphemed, maligned, insulted and abused during his life-time than the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. He and his faithful followers were subjected to every kind of verbal invective and physical harrassment. He was forced to migrate from Mecca to Medina due to the severity of persecution by the Meccans. Ten years later he returned to Mecca with ten thousand followers who could have taken the town by storm but the Holy Prophetsaw forbade any bloodshed. Much to the amazement of the Meccans he forgave them their cruel enormities and this was his general attitude throughout his life towards his enemies and blasphemous opponents. All Muslims look upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as a perfect exemplar for mankind and they would do well to be moved and guided by his noble example.

    Voices have also been raised that Salman Rushdie is an apostate from Islam for which the punishment is death. We hasten to state that not only is no such punishment for apostasy prescribed in the Holy Quran but on the other hand the following verse completely refutes this erroneous claim:

    Those who believe, then disbelieve, then again believe, then disbelieve and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them nor will He guide them to the right way. (4:138)
    This verse proclaims that persons who renounce Islam have the opportunity to re-enter Islam if they so choose. This verse disproves the assertion that according to the Holy Quran an apostate should be put to death. Were death the automatic punishment for an apostate then there arises no question of having the opportunity to join Islam again. This verse mentions apostates who again accept Islam.
    There is no mention in the Holy Quran or anywhere else of any punishment for an apostate which may be meted out to him by any other person. The consequences of his apostasy in this world and in the next life lie solely in the hands of God. Man is free to accept or reject whatever beliefs he chooses. God says in the Holy Quran:

    There is no compulsion in religion. (2:257)
    It is the truth from your Lord; wherefore let him who will believe and let him who will disbelieve. (18:30)
    Islam recognizes the right of freedom of conscience and freedom of belief and that as far as one's religious belief is concerned one is answerable to God alone. No man has the right to punish another for his choice of belief. There is absolutely no compulsion whatsoever in Islam and no punishment of any kind permitted in the Holy Quran for apostasy.
    Human rights are laid own in the Holy Quran which guarantee man the right of perfect freedom of faith and conscience. In such matters God is the Judge - not man. Our constant prayer is Guide us on the Right Path. (1:6) - Amen.

    [This message has been edited by zaksnoor (edited July 31, 2002).]


      One thing I don't understand is if they are going to kill him what the hell are they fining him for?

      If he refuses to pay, what are they going to do.... kill him? Wait...he is already sentenced to death!!

      Stupid people!!!


        'Islamic' Republic of Pakistan, HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!


          ^SO why do you bother coming here brown boy?? Our land our discussion our affairs....go and find some bleach and get that colour off.


            dear mufakkar, it is not a matter relating pakistan, it has got to do with Islam. So anybody can say anything about it. All the ummah will feel bad if anybody misinterprets islam or paints a bad picture of it. Its not about 'Our land our discussion our affairs'.

            Incase you have any point in favour of this decision u should put it forward. As for myself, I am not in its favour and i think zaksnoor has provided enough evidence.


              Sadeyes, I don't say that no one should criticize. But this character comes here with nothing to contribute except these WITTY oneliners and to label us as "them"