Two Christian, one Muslim man found guilty by a Gujranwala court.
An Anti-Terrorism Court in Gujranwala on Monday sentenced two Christian and one Muslim man to death for blasphemy, according to court officials.
“One Muslim and two Christian prisoners were awarded death sentences by the Anti-Terrorism Court following the completion of arguments,” said Hameed Chaudhry. “Christians Anjam Naz and Javed Naz and Muslim Jafar Ali were found guilty in the same blasphemy case,” he said, adding that 11 witnesses had recorded statements against the accused.
Mohammad Tanveer, a police official, said that initially Anjam Naz, complaining that Javed Naz and Jafar Ali had already blackmailed Rs. 20,000 from him and were now seeking an additional Rs. 50,000, had lodged the case.
“When police arrested Javed and Jafar on May 15, they recovered an audio recording of Anjam committing blasphemy,” he added. “We also recovered the recorded audio from Jafar’s possession and found that he and Javed were blackmailing Anjam by threatening to release the audio to the public if he did not pay them.”
Tanveer said that police then also took Anjam into custody and lodged a blasphemy case against all three accused. “They will now be permitted to appeal the verdict before a higher court,” he added.
Pakistan has extremely strict laws against blasphemy and rights campaigners say they are often used to settle personal disputes in a country where 97 percent of the population is Muslim.