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Woman in Lahore gets life term for ‘blasphemy’

LAHORE: A sessions court on Thursday handed down life imprisonment to a woman on the charge of desecration of the Holy Quran.

Hayer police registered the first information report of the incident in 2021 under section 295-B of Pakistan Penal Code against ‘A’, 40, a resident of Bedian Road.

Defence counsel argued that the accused had been falsely implicated in a fabricated case.

He said there were glaring contradictions and dishonest improvements in the statements of the prosecution witnesses. He maintained that it was the duty of the investigating officer to investigate the matter thoroughly in line with the Police Rules and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) but it was not done.

The counsel questioned the prosecution story saying why any private person from the vicinity who allegedly witnessed the alleged occurrence did not turn up as complainant and the case was registered on the complaint of a police official.

Assistant District Public Prosecutor Mohazib Awais stated that the accused was caught red-handed while burning a copy of the Quran, which was also recovered on the spot.

He contended that the prosecution proved its case against the accused beyond any shadow of doubt and mere technicalities cannot absolve the accused of her criminal liability.

Additional District & Sessions Judge Imran Sheikh maintained the prosecution established its case beyond any shadow of doubt and the ingredients of section 295-B PPC were fully made out regarding the act of burning a copy of Quran by the accused.

Addressing the point of the woman’s mental health, the judge noted that the issue of mental health of the accused was not pressed forcefully.

However, he said the investigating officer produced the accused, after her arrest, before a judicial magistrate and an application for her medical examination was also submitted.

The judge noted that the magistrate wrote in his order that the accused woman did not want her medical examination and it was also observed by the magistrate that the accused responded to questions “rationally”.

During the trial, the judge observed, no such defence plea was taken by accused that she was suffering from any disorder at the time of alleged occurrence.

Source: Dawn