This is the second case of its kind in the country when the death
sentence of a blasphemy accused has been confirmed by the LHC since
inception of the blasphemy law.
An Additional District and Sessions Judge Lahore on May 27, 2002 had
awarded Wajihul Hassan death sentence for allegedly uttering
blasphemous remarks against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and other
prophets. He was also accused of hurting religious sentiments of the
complainant – Senior Advocate Muhammad Ismail Qureshi.
Allam Iqbal Town Police registered an FIR against Hassan under
sections 295-C (use of derogatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh), 295-A (malicious acts intended to outrage religious
feelings) and 298-A (use of derogatory remarks in respect of holy
The session judge had awarded him death sentence and Rs0.2 million
fine under section 295-C, 10 years’ imprisonment and Rs50,000 fine
under section 295-A and two years’ imprisonment and Rs20,000 fine under
According to the complainant – Advocate Muhammad Ismail Qureshi –
who had got Ahmadis declared non-Muslims by the Supreme Court, some
unknown persons had been wiring him frequent letters carrying
blasphemous remarks against the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and other prophets.
In the FIR he alleged that although the letters did not contain
names of the senders, he was sure that Wajihul Hassan was behind these
letters. He alleged that Wajihul Hassan was a Muslim but later
converted to Christianity and was using derogatory remarks against the
Holy Prophet (pbuh). The complainant could not produce any of these
letters before the police and mentioned in the FIR that he had burnt
all the six letters.
During the course of investigation, however, he handed over seven
such letters to the authorities attributing them to accused Hassan. He
also said that Nawaz Butt and Hassan are names of the same person.
During the trial, the complainant produced 10 prosecution witnesses
to buttress his case against the accused. The witnesses said they had
seen Hassan uttering blasphemous remarks.
Counsel for Hassan, Advocate Parvaiz Aslam Chaudhry, strongly
rejected the prosecution story, saying that on the basis of
extra-judicial confession of witnesses before the trial court, an
accused could not be awarded death sentence.
He told The Express Tribune that in his statement under
section 342 of CrPC his client had denied uttering any blasphemous
remarks. He quoted Hassan as saying that he was a Muslim and believed
in the last Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and never dared to utter or write
any blasphemous remarks.
He said by birth he is a Muslim and never converted to Christianity.
He said the complainant deliberately named him as Murshad Masih to
strengthen his stance but it was not his name. They intend to file an
appeal against the LHC order before the Supreme Court.
Advocate Chaudhry claimed that the motive behind registration of FIR
was that complainant Qureshi had a grudge against former Human Rights
Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairperson Asma Jahangir.
Hassan and his father Safdar Hussain were employees at the office of
Asma, he claimed, adding that Qureshi tried to use Hassan against Asma
but over his refusal he implicated him in the case.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairman told The Express Tribune
that the commission was against the capital punishment at first place,
adding that blasphemy laws have long been misused in Pakistan.
He said, “Blasphemy laws have always been controversial. People have
been using them to penalise their opponents and minorities. HRCP and
other organisations have long been demanding that the blasphemy law
should be repealed”.
He said that this government was considering abolishing capital punishment but hasn’t implemented it yet.
Asma Jahangir denied having any link with accused Hassan. She said he never had been her employee.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2010.