Lahore, September 27: A Lahore sessions court handed down the death penalty to a Muslim woman on blasphemy charge under section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), Dawn news reported. "The convict Salma Tanveer is sentenced to death and a 50,000 PKR fine u/s 295-C PPC," said the verdict.
"It is proved beyond reasonable doubt that accused Salma Tanveer wrote and distributed the writings which are derogatory in respect of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and she failed to prove that her case falls in exception provided by section 84 of PPC," Additional District & Sessions Judge Mansoor Ahmad Qureshi ruled in his 22-page verdict. Pakistan Resisting International Commitments on Blasphemy Laws.
The woman, owner and principal of a private school, was accused of distributing photocopies of her writings wherein she denied the finality of Prophethood and claimed her as a Prophet, the Dawn news report said. The woman's counsel, Muhammad Ramzan, had argued that the suspect was of unsound mind at the time of occurrence. He said the magistrate concerned had ordered mental examination of the suspect which remained pending without any fault on the part of the suspect. Pakistan: Muslim Man Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy in Punjab Province.
The defence counsel further argued that the comparison of writing from photocopies was not possible as tampering had been made in the photocopies of the alleged documents, the report said. A state prosecutor, Sadia Arif, assisted by Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, the counsel for the complainant, submitted before the court that the prosecution proved its case on the basis of oral and documentary evidence.
She said the suspect failed to prove that at the time of writing and distributing blasphemous material she was incapable of knowing the nature of her act. The section 84 deals with the offences committed by a person of unsound mind. Nishtar Colony police had registered the FIR on September 2, 2013 against the woman on the complaint of Qari Iftikhar Ahmad Raza, a prayer leader of a local mosque.
The judge remarked that the record showed that the woman was running her school single-handedly till her arrest. Therefore, the woman could not be stated to be suffering from legal insanity. The judge further observed that it was evident that the suspect was not free from abnormality, otherwise, she would not have written and distributed such derogatory material.
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