Blasphemy case registered over Muhammad cartoons

Pakistani police have registered a blasphemy case against Danish cartoonists and some European newspapers over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked worldwide protests this year, they said on Wednesday.

Internet search engines Google.com and Yahoo.com were also named in the complaint filed by Iqbal Haider, an activist of a small political party, police said. The case has been registered under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which calls for the death penalty for defiling the Prophet.

“We registered the case late on Tuesday on the basis of the supreme court’s April 17 order,” local police officer Tariq Malik told Agence France-Presse.

Police originally refused to register the case but Haider obtained an order from the Supreme Court last week.

The complaint was formally registered at a Karachi police station against Danish cartoonists and editors and publishers of Danish, Irish, Norwegian, French and Italian newspapers for reproducing the cartoons.

“I filed the petition in January 2006 and the supreme court ordered police to register the complaint. The case has been registered under the blasphemy law and under the anti-terrorist act,” Haider told AFP.

He said the court would now issue notices to the cartoonists, newspapers and websites through the Pakistani foreign ministry.

The 12 cartoons by several artists were first published in Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper in September and subsequently reproduced elsewhere, mainly in Europe, triggering widespread demonstrations.

Five people died in Pakistan during violent protests.
Muslims consider images of the Prophet as blasphemous.—AFP

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