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'Bollywood' star sentenced to 26 years for violating Pakistani blasphemy laws

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/7/2015 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

TV skit compared star Veena Malik's wedding to that of Mohammed

Pakistan's blasphemy laws extend all the way to India's screen personalities, known as "Bollywood stars." Mir Shakil ur-Rehman - the owner of Geo TV, the country's largest media group, along with Bollywood star Veena Malik, her husband Asad Malik and television host Shayesta Lodhi were sentenced to 26 years in prison terms for violating multiple blasphemy provisions of the country's penal code.

Bollywood star Veena Malik, her husband Asad Malik and television host Shayesta Lodhi were sentenced to 26 years in prison terms for violating multiple blasphemy provisions of the country's penal code.

Bollywood star Veena Malik, her husband Asad Malik and television host Shayesta Lodhi were sentenced to 26 years in prison terms for violating multiple blasphemy provisions of the country's penal code.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
1/7/2015 (4 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Veena Malik, blasphemy laws, Pakistan, death threats


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A court in Gilgit, Pakistan, passed the sentences in late November. A Geo TV skit, aired on May 14 starring Malik that re-enacted her wedding, while drawing an explicit parallel with the wedding ceremony of the Prophet Muhammad's daughter, prompted the charges.

Shortly afterwards, police launched an investigation into blasphemy allegations against pop star turned preacher Junaid Jamshed stemming from an online video in which Jamshed allegedly disparages one of the Prophet Muhammad's wives.

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"I was four months pregnant when this entire controversy happened. I decided to leave the country be

"I was four months pregnant when this entire controversy happened. I decided to leave the country because of my baby, not because of myself, as I did want to have a miscarriage," Veena Malik says.


Jamshed, Malik and her high profile co-defendants are relatively lucky. Unlike others accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, they are still alive.

An angry mob attacked a Christian couple in November, Shama and Shahzad Masih, in Kot Radha Kishan in Punjab for suspected blasphemy. The couple was savagely beaten and then burned to death in a brick kiln. The next day, a police officer in Gujrat, also in Punjab, decapitated a mentally unstable man who was in custody in the city's police station for allegedly committing blasphemy. In September police opened fire on an elderly British-Pakistani man imprisoned on blasphemy charges, wounding him.

An accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan can be a death sentence.

Pakistan's blasphemy law, as section 295-C of the penal code is the main reasons for these aforementioned acts against humanity. Hundreds are incarcerated annually for various offenses under other similar statutes, but 295-C makes the death penalty effectively mandatory for transgressions that fall under its scope.

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There have been no executions yet carried out for these blasphemy laws to date. At least 19 people in the country are on death row for blasphemy. The law is largely used against members of religious minorities, while the government rarely brings charges against those responsible for attacks on people - often the victims of personal disputes - accused of blasphemy.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ignored these abuses. Sharif has failed to speak out publicly against the law and its use to attack religious minorities...even when militant Islamists target Pakistani government officials in its name.

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