An Additional District and Sessions Court sentenced a Christian man to death for blasphemy on Thursday, his lawyer said, over an incident that triggered a riot in Lahore. Sawan Masih was convicted of insulting Islam’s Prophet during the course of a conversation with a Muslim friend in the Joseph Colony neighbourhood of the city in March 2013. More than 3,000 Muslims rampaged through Joseph Colony, torching some 100 Christian homes, after the allegations against Masih emerged. Naeem Shakir, one of Masih’s lawyers, said: “The judge has announced the death sentence for Sawan Masih. We will appeal the sentence in the Lahore High Court.” Verdict and sentence were announced inside the jail where Masih was held, Shakir said.
Pakistan has extremely strict laws against defaming Islam, including the death penalty for insulting Islam’s Prophet, and rights campaigners say they are often used to settle personal disputes. Masih has maintained his innocence and argued the real reason for the blasphemy allegation was a property dispute between him and his friend. Earlier this month an angry mob set fire to a Hindu temple in Larkana over the alleged desecration of a Quran.
As per mentioned by Newsweek, A recent report from a U.S. government advisory panel said Pakistan used blasphemy laws more than any other country in the world, listing 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for insulting Islam. In January an elderly Briton was sentenced to death for blasphemy, though his lawyers said the court had failed to consider “overwhelming” evidence of his mental illness.
This law in Pakistan is used against minorities especially Christians because they raise voice for their rights. I was also a victim of this law and I had to spend four years in prison due to this notorious law. As far as the appeal is concerned, it will take several years in processing, maybe ten or 15 years. During that time, he might be killed in the jail and even if he is released after that his most important time of the life would be lost. During protests, Pakistani Muslims burned and destroyed many Churches, Holy Bibles, Hymn Books, Holy Cross and other Holy Symbols and Materials but none of the protester was arrested according to the country’s blasphemy law i.e 295-B and C. This shows that this blasphemy law is used only against Christians and other Non-Muslims.