PTI seeks to withdrawal of key bill seeking strict penalties | 2018-10-14 |

False Blasphemy Accusations in Pakistan

PTI seeks to withdrawal of key bill seeking strict penalties

    14 October, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Islamabad: Leader of the House in the Senate Syed Shibli Faraz on Friday submitted a request to the Senate Secretariat for the withdrawal of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Bill 2018, reports Dawn. 

The bill had been moved on the directions of the Islamabad High Court after (then) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had ordered last year that those who make false accusations of blasphemy should be given the same punishment as those convicted of blasphemy under the law.

However, in a statement yesterday, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said that the government was determined to restore the bill to its “original soul” under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Section 295-C was introduced in 1986 mandating the death penalty for “use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)”.

Qadri also said that PTI members in the National Assembly and the Senate will strongly oppose any amendments to Section 295-C.

The minister also said that Information Technology Minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui had submitted a motion in the Senate to withdraw the bill on Sept 27, which was still pending.

He added that another motion to withdraw the amended bill was submitted on Oct 11.

Syed Shibli Faraz had also submitted a request to the Senate Secretariat on Sept 19 to withdraw the amended bill.

In a statement, a Senate spokesperson said that the House had handed over the bill to the relevant committee.

The approval to present the bill in parliament was given by the cabinet of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on May 29, 2018.

A draft of the bill was presented to the cabinet by former minister for information technology Anusha Rehman with the aim to curtail irreverent content (gustakhana muwad).