A Pakistani man belonging to the country’s minority Shia community has been sentenced to death for allegedly sharing blasphemous content about Islam on Facebook, AP reported on Saturday. Taimoor Raza, 30, was arrested in April 2016 for allegedly posting content against Sunni Muslim religious leaders and the wives of Prophet Mohammed on the social media platform.
It is not entirely clear what led to his arrest. An AP report said he was arrested by counter-terrorism department officials who received a complaint against him for showing blasphemous content to onlookers at a bus terminal. However, AFP reported that Raza had gotten into an argument about Islam with a person on Facebook, who turned out to be a counter-terrorism official. Raza was arrested in Bahawalpur, 600 km south of Islamabad, and was sentenced to death on Saturday by a local court.
Though the country’s blasphemy laws allow for death sentences to be given to an accused, but this is believed to be the first time that it has been actually done. Last year, the government arrested 10 Muslims and five non-Muslims on blasphemy charges, according to a report prepared by the independent rights group Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.