Thursday, November 27, 2014

No freedom of speech in Pakistan

Veena Malik is a Pakistani actor. In May this year she played a role in a historical wedding scene based on the marriage of one of Muhammed's daughters. For this, she has been sentenced to 26 years in jail for blasphemy:

Veena Malik has expressed her anger and disbelief after she was handed a 26-year jail term by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court for ‘malicious acts’ of blasphemy.

Her crime? Appearing in a pretend wedding scene, staged on a daytime show broadcast by Geo TV and based on the marriage of the Prophet Mohamed’s daughter.

The programme sparked a wave of controversy in the Islamic country when it aired in May, despite the fact similar scenes had been aired in the past to little or no such public outrage. Some even apparently suspected that Pakistan’s military were behind the mock wedding, and that it was put on in a bid to wage a blasphemy war against the broadcaster.

Malik’s husband, Asad Bashir Khan, and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the chief executive of the biggest media group in the Asian country, were further sentenced to 26 years behind bars for the apparent religious offence. The host of the show Shaista Wahidi was also punished.

I'd suggest that the Pakistani courts are incapable of distinguishing between fiction and reality, but as this is a religious offence, that's a given.