ISLAMABAD  -  The Islamabad High Court on Friday cleared of blasphemy charges the five Pakistani activists who made international headlines when they went missing earlier this year. 

The men who used social media to stand against religious intolerance disappeared in January this year. No group claimed responsibility for their abduction while the government and army also denied their involvement. 

During their disappearance, a virulent social media campaign to paint them as blasphemers began, triggering a flood of threats. 

On Friday, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told the Islamabad High Court it could find no evidence against the five men. 

“The FIA officials told the court it seems the five bloggers were not involved in blasphemy,” Tariq Asad, one of the lawyers bringing the charge against the activists, told AFP. 

“The judge remarked no innocent person should be implicated in a false case of blasphemy,” Asad said. 

Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Pakistan and can carry the death penalty, although the state has never executed anyone convicted of it. 

Ahmad Waqass Goraya, one of the activists, who lives in the Netherlands, told AFP the court should now investigate why Pakistan’s mainstream media repeated the dangerous claims against him without proof.