Veena 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.
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