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How does religion influence the law in Pakistan?

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Question: How does religion influence the law in Pakistan?
Answer: Blasphemy is addressed in Pakistan's penal code, and has been since British colonial laws in the mid 19th-century. The addition of capital punishment or life in prison as a penalty came under hardline Islamist dictator Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq:

"Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles a sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), or any of the righteous caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) or companions (Sahaaba) of the Holy Prophet description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both."

"Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life."

"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 Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine."

"Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both."

"Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or any other name), who directly or indirectly, posses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years ans shall also be liable to fine."

Ahmadis are an end-times sect who consider themselves Muslim, but in a 1974 constitutional amendment were decreed a non-Muslim minority. They're not formally banned but live under severe restrictions and are not allowed to hold any gatherings.

According to the Jinnah Institute, nine cases of blasphemy were brought between 1929 and 1982 but surged into the thousands under the “Islamization” rule of Zia-ul-Haq.

In 2009, Pakistan's government approved a deal with the Taliban to implement Sharia law in the Swat Valley of the country's North-West Frontier Province. Yet Pakistan already has a Sharia court to deal with violations of the Hudood Ordinances, now know as the Women's Protection Bill. Extramarital sex for married Muslims carried a maximum punishment of death by stoning under the laws, with 100 lashes for unmarried couples or non-Muslims. The maximum punishment for drinking alcohol is 80 lashes, and theft can result in the right hand of the perpetrator being cut off. Rape or kidnapping a woman with the intent to commit sexual crimes carry the death penalty. However, unless a woman could provide four male witnesses to rape she could be tried herself under adultery charges.

When Pakistan revised the Hudood Ordinances with the Women's Protection Bill in 2006, the crime of rape was taken from the sharia jurisdiction and put under the civil law framework of the Pakistan Penal Code, eliminating the requirement for four male witnesses. The bill also outlawed statutory rape with an age of consent of 16. It also changed the punishment for someone convicted of having consensual sex outside marriage to imprisonment of up to five years and a fine. These reforms were criticized as un-Islamic by conservative groups and as not going far enough by human-rights groups, and are widely considered an attempt by the government to address criticism of its Islamic law by the international community.

Islamic parties have tried to pass legislation in Pakistan that would make apostasy -- when a Muslim leaves the religion -- a crime punishable by death. Under Islamic law, the apostate would have three days behind bars to repent before being executed.

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