The headteacher was found guilty of distributing texts in which she portrayed to be Allah’s true apostle and not the Prophet Mohammad. Her defence counsel presented a case of mental instability, claiming to judges she had ‘lost her mental balance’. The judge did not accept the plea, and the grounds were thrown out. The judge stated te teacher’s condition “falls short of legal insanity”.
Evidence presented by the Punjab Institute for Mental Health in Lahore, also known as the PIMH, stated the teacher had been known to suffer from mental disorders, including a Schizoaffective condition.
In 2014, the PIMH recommended she was unfit to stand trial in her current state of mental health.
The trial was postponed in 2015, and later a report by the same board in 2019 stated the headteacher was fit to stand trial.
The case dates back to 2013 when the case was brought to the attention of the authorities by a local religious cleric against the defendant.
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It was alleged the teacher had denied one of the fundamental rules surrounding the Holy Prophet Mohammad by denying the “khatam-e-nubuwat”.
This refers to the belief in Islam that the Prophet Mohammad is the last apostle sent by Allah, and there shall be no prophets after him.
The headteacher is currently in custody and faces death by hanging, however, the sentence must first be authorized and approved by the Lahore High Court.
The Pakistani penal code states: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall be liable to a fine.’
Stating that judges, including female ones, would oversee trials that could see such punishments, strict laws would still be adhered to.
Turabi said: “cutting off hands is very necessary for security”, claiming that the act provided a wider deterrent effect for would-be thieves.
Elsewhere, other similar laws are in force across the world.
In Thailand, the ‘Lese-majeste’ rule means that it is illegal to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir-apparent, presumptive or regent.
Although not accompanied with a death sentence, offenders proven guilty can face between three and 15 years in jail.