The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday acquitted a man who has been in prison for 11 years over blasphemy charges. The court while allowing the convicts appeal against the trial court’s decision observed that there were loopholes in the case and it did not seem to be premised upon ‘substantial grounds’
The incident took place on January 12, 2009, when the complainant Abdul Ghani heard a woman’s voice coming from a house saying that a copy of the Holy Quran was burning. Upon hearing this, the complainant along with two other men entered the house and allegedly saw the Holy Quran being burned by the accused.
At the trial court proceedings, the accused had to plead his own case as no lawyer would appear on his behalf and the state counsel that was assigned for the case stopped appearing after a few hearings.
At the time of appeal to the High Court Shabbir Ahmad Bodla Advocate was appointed as the state counsel for the accused. Bodla argued that the proceedings at the trial court had not been conducted properly. He said that out of the four witnesses produced by the police, only one was cross-examined. He added that the statement of the accused mother was also not recorded.
Justice Shehram Sarwar raised questions about the evidence presented, asking how it was established that the ashes recovered were of the Holy Quran. The judge, while acquitting the accused, observed that there were loopholes in the case.