Islamabad: A retired Pakistani school teacher, who had appealed against his one-month prison term on charges of committing blasphemy, has now been jailed for three years after his accuser filed a review petition against the original verdict.
Mehram Wahocho, a resident of southern Sindh province, was awarded the fresh sentence by a district and sessions judge in Kamber Shahdadkot on October 13.
Wahocho, who had been charged with committing blasphemy two years ago, has also been ordered to pay a fine of Rs 5,000.
Following the October 13 verdict, Wahocho was sent to the Central Jail in Larkana. Ameer Ali, a resident of Warah, had filed a case with police against Wahocho. In his statement to police, Ameer Ali accused Wahocho of committing blasphemy.
Police then arrested Wahocho and chargesheeted him in the court of a judicial magistrate in Warah, who gave him a one-month prison term. Wahocho filed an appeal in the district and sessions court in Kamber Shahdadkot. His lawyer appealed for bail, which was approved. While Wahocho was appealing his sentence, Ameer Ali filed a review petition against the original judgment.
He asked the court to increase Wahocho's punishment on the grounds that the lower court's judgement paled in comparison to the offence.
Ameer Ali's lawyer Mansoor Tunio said the case dragged on in court for over 18 months because Wahocho's lawyer would be absent on the scheduled dates.
On October 13, the district and sessions judge of Kamber Shahdadkot finally announced the verdict and gave Wahocho a three-year jail term.
Sindh has comparatively fewer blasphemy cases than Punjab, the most populous province where a majority of such cases are registered.
In the past year, there have been several notable cases in Sindh's capital Karachi, including that of a 17-year-old student accused of writing sacrilegious remarks in an examination.
According to the Sindh Police website, 33 cases of blasphemy were reported in the province from January to August this year.