Oct 28, 2007

Dr. Younus Sheikh: Another Blasphemy Victim

Oct 2000: Dr. Younus Sheikh imprisoned on charges of Blasphemy. His crime was the answers he gave to his students about whether the Prophet Mohammad followed Muslim practices before he assumed prophethood. Those who brought the charges had not been present in the lecture hall and are known for their sectarian bias.

Aug 2001: He was given death sentence.

Nov 2003:
He was acquitted and freed after an appeal and retrial.

Background to Dr. Younus Sheikh Case:

Born in 1952. Graduated medicine from Multan and did post graduate from Dublin and England. Served as a trainee surgeon in England from 1981-88. Returned to Pakistan and was teaching in a medical college in Islamabad.

He was active in Human right groups and
at a meeting of the South Asian Union on 1st October 2000, Younus Shaikh suggested that, in the interest of the people of Kashmir, the line of control between the Indian and Pakistani forces should become the international border. This clearly offended a Pakistani officer who responded by saying to Dr Shaikh that “I will crush the heads of those that talk like this”. On 3rd October Dr Shaikh was suspended by his college without explanation.

Later that evening, an employee of the Pakistani Foreign Office, who was also one of Dr Shaikh’s students, complained to a cleric, saying that on 2nd October in a lecture between 12:00 noon and 12:40 pm, the doctor had made blasphemous remarks about the Prophet of Islam. The cleric filed a complaint with the police. Younus Shaikh was arrested on the evening of 4th October and charged with blasphemy. case details

Dr. Younus Sheikh thank you letter after relesed to International Humanist and ehthical union. click here

Blasphemy Law:

Blasphemy Law was enacted by Zia-ul-Haq in his drive to Islamize Pakistan.

Once accused you are put in prison. Trials are in a hostile court room where victim's lawyer is thretened with harm to them and their family. Following people were shot dead by extremist during the trial:

As recently as July 2002, Mohammed Yousaf was shot dead inside the Central Gaol in Lahore while awaiting his appeal. On 7th February 2003, Mushtaq Zafar, a 55 year-old man accused of blasphemy was shot dead on his way home from the High Court. And in June 2003, Naseem Bibi, 35, who had been the victim of a gang rape by police, was charged with blasphemy, and was murdered in prison before her trial could begin.

Amnesty writes that "The blasphemy laws of Pakistan are a handy tool to silence debate and dissent. They are also used to detain people when the real motivation includes land issues or professional rivalry. In the interest of justice, the blasphemy laws should be abolished or as a first step amended to prevent abuse." Amnesty Report Aug 2001

Blashphemy Law 295-C

1 comment:

Murad Hussain said...

Why most or all of blasphemers are from Punjab province? Be it mirza ghulam,yusuf ali and now this guy?