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‘Blasphemous’ Messages on WhatsApp Lands Pakistani Woman the Death Penalty

Pakistani woman sentenced to death for blasphemous messages sent on WhatsApp

Credit: Image via Pixabay

A 26-Year-old Pakistani woman who sent “blasphemous” messages through WhatsApp is now facing the death penalty.

May of 2020, Aneeqa Ateeq of Rawalpindi, Pakistan was arrested and given the charges of sharing blasphemous content to the Prophet Muhammad and his wife.

A man whose advances she had denied earlier collected the messages from WhatsApp which was used in her death sentence on January 19, 2022.

Judge Adnan Mushtaq had this to say in the verdict statement:

‘… the blasphemous material, which was shared/installed by the female accused on her status, and the messages as well as caricatures, which were sent to the complainant, are totally unbearable and not tolerate for a Muslim.’

It was then order by the court that she be ‘hanged by her neck till she was dead.’

Although is has not been confirmed by the Lahore high court, it has been reported that Ateeq was fined around $852 and given a 20 year prison sentence.

Ateeq did deny the charges and accused Hasnat Farroq, the man she had rejected, of manipulating her into the conversation. 

The two started messages each each other on What’sApp after meeting on PUBG, an online gaming app. 

Ateeq made a statement saying:

‘I feel that he intentionally dragged into this topic for revenge, that’s why he registered a case against me, and during chat he collected everything that went against me’.

In the Pakistani state there are blasphemy laws which sentence death for the insulting of the Prophet Muhammad.

There is reason for concern involving these laws as they could potentially be used for revenge to which human right groups are worried about.

Usama Khilji, a digital rights activist, had this to say:

‘activists have been warning of the blasphemy law being used to settle personal scores. The blasphemy law is a weapon used by those who wield power to further render others powerless.

‘at the intersection of power, religion and gender are combined to punish a woman for refusing to give in to the entitlement of a man and hence this punishment’.

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