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Two Women Sentenced to Death in DI Khan for ‘Blasphemy’ Murder

Two women have been condemned to death for the murder of their madrassa teacher, whom they accused of committing blasphemy, according to police reports on Wednesday in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The accusation of blasphemy is highly charged in Pakistan, often leading to deadly vigilantism even on unproven allegations of insulting Islam.

Authorities stated that “three female students allegedly slaughtered their local female cleric over blasphemy allegations” in Dera Ismail Khan in March 2022.

A district judge has “sentenced the death penalty to two local madrasa students and a life sentence to one, after proving their involvement in the murder,” as confirmed by local police official Muhammad Haris to AFP.

The individuals sentenced to death are aged 23 and 24, while the one sentenced to life in prison is 16, he added.

Although the death penalty is technically permissible in Pakistan, and courts frequently issue such sentences, there have been no executions since 2020, according to Amnesty International.

Previously, executions of women were infrequent, but many female inmates have remained on death row for years.

Pakistan has recently experienced a surge in high-profile blasphemy cases. In February, police had to intervene in Lahore when a mob accused a woman wearing a shirt adorned with Arabic calligraphy of blasphemy. The crowd claimed the clothing depicted the Koran, though it actually featured the Arabic word for “beautiful.”

Additionally, Pakistan’s top Supreme Court judge faced veiled death threats after ordering the release of a man accused of spreading blasphemous content.

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