Punishment of Blasphemy in Criminal Justice System of Pakistan and International Human Rights Law: A Comparative Analysis
Keywords:: Blasphemy Law, International Human Rights Law, Freedom of Expression, Pakistan Penal Code 1860
The last two decades have been witnessing an overwhelming escalation in the commission of blasphemy, both on national and international levels. Generally, attempts are made to justify it on the basis of freedom of expression, guaranteed under international human rights law (IHRL). Laws of Muslim states relating to the blasphemy are facing critique for not being in line with IHRL. This poses a few questions: Can blasphemy possibly be justified under the fabric of the freedom of expression guaranteed under IHRL? Are laws of Muslim states relating to blasphemy in contradiction to IHRL? What are the implications of the freedom of expression? Is there any restriction on this right? In addition to attempting these questions, the paper aims to shed light on the nature and relation between IHRL and Islamic law. The paper also discusses the possibility of the reconciliation between both systems if the contradiction is assumed. The work also discusses how the current law of blasphemy in Pakistan runs contrary to certain provisions of IHRL and how it may be fixed from the perspective of Islamic law and IHRL.