Pakistan Anti-Terrorism Court Sentences Married Couple And Network Owner To A Total of 104 Years For “Blasphemous” Television Program

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.12.15 PMVeena Malik, along with her husband Asad Bashir Khan Khattak and former network owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to a total of 104 years in jail in the latest absurd blasphemy prosecution based on Sharia law. Malik, an actress, was given 26 years in jail by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court for “malicious acts” of blasphemy for reenacting the marriage of the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter.

Malik, her husband and Shakil-ur-Rahman reportedly live in the United Arab Emirates and were given 26 years behind bars for the religious offense. The host of the show Shaista Wahidi was punished earlier.

The basis for the charge is difficult to understand outside of the twisted logic of blasphemy jurisdictions. A morning show broadcasted the live scene of Malik dancing with her new husband while a group of Sufi musicians sang a devotional song about the wedding of the Prophet Mohammad’s daughter. That’s it.

The blasphemy case was brought on May 26 in Gilgit by a hardline Sunni cleric Himayatullah Khan, deputy chief of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba.

Moreover, in a bizarre twist, the verdict can only be enforced in the city of Gilgit which is in shared control between the India-claimed Kashmir region and Pakistan. Since it is not considered a proper part of Pakistan, it can only be enforced in that jurisdiction.

For many years, I have been writing about the threat of an international blasphemy standard and the continuing rollback on free speech in the West. For recent columns, click here and here and here.

Much of this writing has focused on the effort of the Obama Administration to reach an accommodation with allies like Egypt and Pakistan to develop a standard for criminalizing anti-religious speech.  We have been following the rise of anti-blasphemy laws around the world, including the increase in prosecutions in the West and the support of the Obama Administration for the prosecution of some anti-religious speech under the controversial Brandenburg standard. Fortunately the effort of Hillary Clinton and others in the Administration to reach a compromise on blasphemy failed, though there continue to be efforts to create an international standard.

The absurdity of this case captures the abuse and extremism inherent in such laws. It also shows why the United States has to resist efforts to convince the West to embrace blasphemy as a legal concept.

Source: Daily Mail

41 thoughts on “Pakistan Anti-Terrorism Court Sentences Married Couple And Network Owner To A Total of 104 Years For “Blasphemous” Television Program”

  1. DAWG–just please–You are obvisouly upset about Ferguson, but can you not turn every topic into your own personal rant about Ferguson?

  2. is there an email address for JT to send info on some current event that can be a topic of discussion on this blog?

    1. ??:

      It doesn’t seem Professor Turley is posting his e-mail address on this website any longer. I looked in the former location and did not see it there.

      If you would like to put the information here as a comment, I will review it and go from there.


  3. The people affected by this ruling are all living outside pakistan. The person that I care about and feel really bad about is this mother (link below) and her young children. It is a shame that leaders of Pakistan have not stood up to the mullahs and cancel this law. Even if she is released she will be killed by the pakistani muslims insecure in their religion. Her whole family should be offered asylum in the US and I will be first to donate money for this. Wish our leadership knew how to deal with these govts. better, but our govt cant even get shakeel afridi out from the jail, who had helped CIA to locate UBL. What a shame!

  4. LOL, Teji Malik,
    I’ve enjoyed your reading your interactions with Paul and Karen the last couple of days. You seem to have observed what I have also about these two. The dishonesty is difficult to deal with because I think they don’t see themselves as being dishonest and get very insulted when someone points out tactics that are not aboveboard. It’s as if they at actually surprised that someone would make such observations. We both have seen these traits, ja kind of makes me feel better. I was hoping I wasn’t being too hard on Karen.

    1. Inga- Karen claims to be a Bollywood geek which means she knows everything that happens there. She also knows that Bollywood has nothing to do with Veena Malik who is from Pakistan and may have acted in a couple of Indian Bollywood movies. Karen does not know how rude Richard Gere was when he tried to force kiss a person on the stage. He would have been sued for a sexual assault here.

      Karen also claimed to know everything about Pakistan after having been challenged yesterday and after she was given the facts.

      Regarding Paul, no words need to be said. He often gets caught in his own knotted web as seen in the past two days.

      Inga: Thanks for your keen observations. 🙂

      1. Teji – if you think Inga is a keen observer you are in deep, deep trouble. 😉

    2. Ingie – dearie, complimenting someone is the kiss of death. BTW, hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving.

      1. Paulie,
        I’m merely making observations. It’s always good to see that one’s observations are also seen by others. It’s reaffirming. 🙂

        1. Ingie – if one’s observations are incorrect to begin with, then the affirmations are just affirming the wrongness of your original position.

          1. Paul, it’s human nature to not see yourself as others do. I don’t hold it against you. You often make observations about me that I don’t see in myself either.

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