Prior to this there were only 7 cases filed between 1851-1947. Currently here are at least 17 people convicted of blasphemy on death row, and an additional 19 serving life sentences. Accusations of blasphemy are filed against both Muslim and non-Muslims, and while the rate of against non-Muslims is higher when measured against the religious minorities representation in Pakistan, more overall accusations are made against Muslims.
Also see: More than one-in-five countries worldwide (22%) penalize blasphemy or apostasy; some face death
A Pakistani court has upheld the death penalty against Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, accused of blasphemy. She is the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Two Muslim women brought the allegation against Bibi after they objected to her sharing water with them, because she was a different faith. The charges were brought against her in 2010. Two prominent politicians, the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer, a Muslim, and the Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a catholic, were killed after supporting Bibi in 2011. The governor was killed by his own bodyguard; who was then showered with rose petals by supporters at his murder trial.
In Pakistan, a blasphemy conviction carries a maximum penalty of death, and yet has an almost non-existent standard of proof. There is no punishment for false allegations of blasphemy, and an accuser may even refuse to tell the court exactly what the blasphemous comment was, so as not to blaspheme themselves. It is enough simply to accuse someone of blasphemy for them to either receive punishment through the judicial system, however more often punishment is meted out by members of the public. Pakistan’s anti blasphemy law also does not account for the accused’s mental state. For instance, currently British citizen, Mohammed Asghar, a paranoid schizophrenic, is awaiting a death sentence in Pakistan. Asghar’s tenant accused him of blasphemy after they had a disagreement.
Confounding any attempt to mediate the affect of the law, are incidents such as the recent killing of Rashid Rehman, a dedicated human rights attorney. Rehman was killed after taking on the case of Junaid Hafeez, a university professor accused of blasphemy by a group of students in 2013. Attorneys in Pakistan have expressed frustration with how Pakistan’s legal system is responding once a blasphemy case gains traction in the public sphere. An attorney for Asghar notes, "There are two kinds of judges in this blasphemy field. [There are] those who genuinely have their hands tied behind their backs, because there is a threat to their lives. But there's a fair amount of lawyers, prosecutors and judges who are making a name for themselves by … sentencing blasphemy convicts."