Abdul Waheed

Name: Abdul Waheed

Country/Area of Origin: Islamabad, Pakistan

Background: Abdul Waheed’s case also includes Rana Nouman Rafaqat, Nasir Ahmad, and Anwaar Ahmed

Reason for Arrest:

In 2017, Waheed was arrested after accusations were raised that he and Rana Nouman Rafaqat had been posting blasphemous content on social media; meanwhile, Nasir Ahmad had reportedly posted a blasphemous video onto YouTube. While Rafaqat and Ahmad were both arrested by Pakistani authorities, it is reported that Waheed had been kidnapped and taken into custody by security agents. A fourth individual who was arrested as part of the same case is Anwaar Ahmed, an Urdu professor and lecturer at the Islamabad Model College who was filmed in a viral video making controversial and blasphemous remarks during one of the lessons he was teaching.

According to the original First Information Report (FIR) that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) wrote, “there are several unknown people/groups disseminating/spreading blasphemous material through internet using social media i.e. Facebook, Twitter, websites, etc. through alleged profiles/pages/handles/sites etc… and several others wilfully defiled and outraged religious feelings, belief by using derogatory words/remarks/graphic designs/images/sketches/visual representations in respect of the sacred names”.

Court trials for Waheed, Rafaqat, Ahmad, and Professor Ahmed lasted at least three years.

Latest Updates:

  • On 8 January 2021, Judge Raja Jawad Abbas of an Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court convicted the four defendants of blasphemy and sentenced Waheed, Rafaqat, and Ahmad to death; Professor Ahmed was sentence to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 Pakistani rupees. This case deviates from many other blasphemy cases in that it was taken up by an Anti-Terrorism Court rather than a Sessions Court which is typical; moreover, the defendants were charged with blasphemy and sentenced to death not just under Section 295 of the Pakistani Penal Code, but also the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act which prohibits “acts intended or likely to stir up sectarian hatred”.