ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted a blasphemy accused who was earlier sentenced to death by the trial and high courts.

Wajeehul Hassan was accused by Advocate Ismail Qureshi in 1998 of writing blasphemous letters to him.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and comprising Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin heard the case filed by accused Wajeehul Hassan against the high court verdict through videolink from the SC Lahore Registry.

During the course of proceedings, the court observed that the prosecution failed to prove the case against the accused. State prosecutor Muhammad Amjad Rafique said Advocate Ismail Qureshi had pleaded in the Federal Shariah Court that the punishment for blasphemy should be death sentence and not life imprisonment.

As per the prosecution, the letters were sent to Qureshi after the acceptance of his request to the Federal Shariah Court to change the punishment for blasphemy from life imprisonment to the death sentence. The Federal Shariat Court converted the sentence over blasphemy from life imprisonment to death sentence on Ismail Qureshi’s plea, he added.

He said after that case Ismail Qureshi started receiving letters which used blasphemous words. The letters received in 1998 were written by Hassan Murshid, which were set ablaze by Ismail Qureshi, he added.

Amjad said as Ismail Qureshi continued receiving letters, he got registered a first information report against the accused at Iqbal Town Police Station Lahore. He claimed that the accused had confessed before his company manager Mohammad Waseem and Mohammad Naveed that he had written letters to Ismail Qureshi and asked them to get him rid of the case.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah remarked that the letters were written in the name of Hassan Murshid.

Advocate Amjad said the accused, Wajeehul Hassan, mentioned his name as Hasan Murshid in the letters.

Justice Yahya Afridi remarked that the accused had claimed that he had not written letters as he was a Muslim.

Advocate Amjad responded that the accused confessed before the two witnesses that he first converted to Christianity and later became Qadiani.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah remarked that the accused not only said he was a Muslim, but also professed that he believed in the Last Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

When the counsel said that the sentence over blasphemy was death penalty, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah remarked that it had been decided in the Aasia Bibi case. He asked the counsel to prove that the same accused had written the letters.

The counsel said the accused’s handwriting was taken before the magistrate. The handwriting expert submitted report that accused’s handwriting matched with that of the letters.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah remarked that the handwriting expert said it was probable that the suspect’s writing might match to that of the letters. He observed that the prosecution had failed to prove that the letters were written by Hassan and dismissed the case.