Islamabad, Pakistan, Jul 27, 2018 / 13:30 pm
Imran Khan has emerged as the victor in a general election held in Pakistan Wednesday, July 25. The professional cricket player-turned-politician has previously voiced support for the country's controversial blasphemy laws.
While votes are still being tallied in some areas, Khan's centrist Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) have won 115 seats so far, becoming the largest party in the National Assembly.
Khan, who ran as a populist reforming candidate, has publicly supported laws imposing strict penalties for blasphemy against Islam – including desecrating a Quran or insulting Mohammed. Penalties for insulting Islam's chief prophet include fines, prison, and even the death penalty.
While no one has been formally executed for the crime in Pakistan, mob violence and killings have accompanied public accusations of blasphemy. This includes the assassination of Salmaan Taseer, the Muslim governor of the Punjab province and a critic of the blasphemy laws, and Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic and Pakistan's only Christian cabinet member. Bhatti's cause for beatification was opened by the Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi in 2016.