A district court in Lahore has acquitted a woman accused of blasphemy, after it emerged that the complainant had molested the woman and then proceeded to accuse her of blasphemy to get away with his crime.
The woman’s lawyer told the court that Muhammad Irfan, who had appeared as a witness to the crime, had “tried to touch my clients’ breasts forcibly and accused her of blasphemy when she stopped him.”
According to Samaa TV, the woman, named Fareeda, had been accused of ripping and burning pages of verses from the Holy Quran which were quoted in a book titled, ‘Ramzan-ul-Mubarak Ki Ibadat.’ A first investigation report (FIR) was filed against her on December 19, 2020.
The presiding judicial magistrate found insufficient evidence in the case, noting that neither a forensics exam nor a thorough police investigation had been conducted, and ordered Fareeda’s immediate release.
“If the accused lady burnt the Holy book for about two to three minutes [as claimed by the complainants] it should have been completely burnt but this is not the case,” the judge observed.
In his verdict, the judge also quoted a previous ruling by the Supreme Court in separate blasphemy case, which states, ‘It is better that ten guilty persons be acquitted rather than one innocent person be convicted.’
False allegations of blasphemy have at times reportedly been weaponized against individuals to resolve personal vendettas. In a 2015 study, the International Commission of Jurists found that in 60 percent of the cases it analyzed, the high courts acquitted the accused on the grounds that the complaints had been either ‘fabricated, or made maliciously for personal or political reasons.’