Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 15, 2023 / 15:02 pm
Pakistani lawmakers passed legislation that could land someone a life sentence in prison for insulting any wife, family member, or companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Act, 2023, which would set a maximum penalty of life in prison for such offenses with a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, has now passed both houses of Parliament. Under current law, blasphemy violations are only punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine, or both.
To become law, the bill still needs the president’s signature.
Pakistan’s lower legislative chamber, the National Assembly, passed the bill in January and the country’s upper chamber, the Senate, passed it last week on Aug. 7. The goal of this bill, based on its statement of objectives, is to crack down on “blasphemy on the internet and social media,” which has led to “terrorism” and “disruption in the country,” according to the Pakistani English-language newspaper Dawn.