Elderly Ahmadi released from Pakistani jail after blasphemy sentence cut

The 83-year-old was arrested after being accused of selling an Ahmadi interpretation of the Quran
Elderly Ahmadi released from Pakistani jail after blasphemy sentence cut

A file image of a minaret of the Ahmadi minority mosque in Lahore on May 29, 2010. (Photo by Arif Ali/AFP)

ucanews.com reporter, Karachi
Pakistan
March 19, 2019
An 83-year-old Ahmadi man has been released from prison after serving more than three years on charges of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Abdul Shakoor was released from Faisalabad prison in Punjab province on March 18.

He was arrested in December 2015 after being accused of selling an Ahmadi interpretation of the Quran, the Islamic holy book.

A month later, on Jan. 2, 2016, he was jailed for five years under blasphemy laws and three years under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“The high court rejected his appeal of acquittal but reduced his sentence,” Ahmadiyya Pakistan spokesman Saleem ud Din said.

In February, Johnnie Moore, commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), called on Pakistan to immediately release Shakoor.  

His release comes a few days after the U.S. criticized Pakistan for its treatment of Ahmadis and other religious minorities.

In its report, the U.S. State Department noted Pakistan’s discriminatory laws against Ahmadis, Shias and Christian minorities.

“Courts routinely failed to protect the rights of religious minorities. Courts discriminatorily used laws prohibiting blasphemy against Shia, Christians, Ahmadis and members of other religious minority groups,” it said.  

According to the report, violence against religious minorities — including Christians, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Hindus, and Shia Muslims — remained a serious problem.

The U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion, in its report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on March 5, also denounced Pakistan for its treatment of the Ahmadiyya, who have been subject to systematic persecution by means of state-sanctioned discrimination and other repressive measures.

Ahmadiyya is an Islamic movement founded in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the late 19th century which believes that the Prophet Muhammad was not the last prophet.

Sign up to receive UCAN Daily Full Bulletin
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
© Copyright 2019, UCANews.com All rights reserved
© Copyright 2019, Union of Catholic Asian News Limited. All rights reserved
Expect for any fair dealing permitted under the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior permission.