LAHORE: A district court on Monday granted capital punishment to a woman for professing to be a prophet.
On September 3, 2013, Salma published and distributed a text in her area denying the finality of prophethood — Khatame Nabuwat –and claiming to be a prophet.
After residents in the area became aware of the incident, FIR was filed against Salma who was later apprehended by police.
The arraignment presented the argument against the convict named Salma Tanveer while the defendant side neglected the accusation that she was experiencing “unstable psyche” when she had committed the crime.
The trial dragged on for nearly two years. Finally, after a medical examination of the accused, the jail authorities wrote to the court that the accused was fit to stand trial.
The trial was held once more, with the accused side claiming that the defendant was not mentally competent at the time of the offense.
On the other hand, the complainant’s attorney, Supreme Court Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, questioned how an application describing the accused’s unsoundness could be brought after a year and a half since the trial began.
The lawyer questioned how a mentally ill woman could run a school and conduct classes.“How is it possible that an unsound woman had visited foreign countries several times?,” he questioned.
During the preliminary hearing, the defendant also granted her spouse permission to engage in real estate after following the proper procedures.
The counsel questioned, “How is it possible that an unsound woman engaged her counsels with her own approval and the applications in her case have been submitted even in the country’s top court.”
The defendant’s lawyer stated again that she was not of sound mind at the time of the incident. He stated that nothing committed by a person of unsound mind was an offense under Section 84 of the PPC.
The complainant’s lawyer stated that the prosecution had established its case through oral and documentary evidence, whereas the accused had failed to establish that she was incapable of recognizing the nature of her actions due to insanity at the time she wrote and distributed blasphemous material.
The accused said that she believed in Khatame-Nabuwat but had lost her mental equilibrium before Hajj in 2013, according to her statement recorded under section 342 of the CrPC.
However, Salma was sentenced to death and fined Rs.50,000 by the additional district and sessions court after hearing both sides.
Since 1987, at least 1,472 persons have been charged for blasphemy in Pakistan.
The blasphemy laws date back to the colonial era, although they were revised by former dictator General Zia ul Haq to make the sentences more severe.