A man, Sajid Ali, was charged for posting sacrilegious, blasphemous, and derogatory posts on Facebook in 2017. A Pakistani special court has sentenced the man to five years of rigorous imprisonment for posting blasphemous content on social media which turns out to be the first such case under the country's new cybercrime law. The special court for cybercrime sentenced Sajid Ali, who is an active member of the Shia community after he was charged for posting profane, impious, and censorious material on Facebook in 2017. He was punished under Section 11 of the prevention of the Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and 298-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with the use of derogatory remarks against pious personalities of Islam.
Mr. Ali a resident of Bahawalnagar’s Chishtian Tehsil which is situated around 400 km from Lahore was booked by the local police on the complaint of people in his locality. The case was then transferred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Crime Circle Lahore over the issue of jurisdiction. The FIA has said that it is the first such case in Pakistan under the new cybercrime laws. FIA Prosecutor Munam Bashir Chaudhry produced 12 witnesses including FIA Assistant Director Naeem Zafar who additionally presented his specialized investigation report.
FIA Cyber Crime Lahore head Sarfraz Chaudhry said that it is the first conviction in the country under the recent cybercrime laws on posting blasphemous material against companions of Prophet Muhammad on social media. The court also ordered the government to launch an awareness campaign to aware the people about cybercrimes especially the blasphemous content. Blasphemy is considered to be a sensitive issue in Pakistan and those accused of it often spend years in jail.
The previous year, the Pakistan Supreme Court had acquitted Asiba Bibi, the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws. She was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbors.
(With inputs from Agencies)