MULTAN – Local police registered an accusation from a businessman on Thursday that Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States had committed blasphemy, a crime that carries the death penalty, in connection with a 2010 TV talk show.
The case against Sherry Rehman was brought by businessman Muhammad Faheem Gill, 31, who said that the comments Sherry made about the law on a talk show in 2010 were blasphemous.
“I’ve been trying to get this case registered for the last three years, ever since I saw that TV show,” Gill told Reuters. “I’ve even gone to the highest court. I’m glad that action will finally be taken now.” Gill went to the Supreme Court with his complaint after police refused to register it. The court ordered police in Multan to investigate.
Blasphemy accusations are on the rise, according to a report released by the Islamabad-based think tank, Center for Security Studies. At least 52 people accused of blasphemy have been killed since 1990. The charge is difficult to defend since blasphemy is not defined and courts often hesitate to hear evidence, fearful that reproducing it will also be blasphemy.
Sherry Rehman, a prominent member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, was appointed as ambassador to the United States in November 2011. She has already faced death threats from militants after calling for reforms to the anti-blasphemy law, according to court documents.