BBC apologises for asking on Twitter, ‘What is the right punishment for blasphemy’ | world-news | Hindustan Times
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BBC apologises for asking on Twitter, ‘What is the right punishment for blasphemy’

world Updated: Mar 24, 2017 08:02 IST
Guardian Staff

Pakistani students of Islamic seminaries chant slogans during a rally in support of blasphemy laws in Islamabad, Pakistan.(AP Photo)

BBC Asia has apologised after it posted the question “what is the right punishment for blasphemy?” on its Asian Network Twitter account .

The tweet was intended to promote a debate about blasphemy on social media in Pakistan with presenter Shazia Awan.

In an apology, the network said it never intended to imply that blasphemy should be punished and said the tweet was poorly worded.

It emerged this week that Pakistan has asked Facebook and Twitter to help identify Pakistanis suspected of blasphemy so it can prosecute them or pursue their extradition.

Under the country’s blasphemy laws , anyone found to have insulted Islam or the prophet Muhammad can be sentenced to death.

Read | Facebook to send team to Pakistan to address ‘blasphemy’ concerns

The interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said an official in Pakistan’s Washington embassy had approached the two social media companies in an effort to identify Pakistanis, either within the country or abroad, who recently shared material deemed offensive to Islam .

He said Pakistani authorities had identified 11 people for questioning over alleged blasphemy and would seek the extradition of anyone living abroad.

The BBC’s tweet prompted anger and disbelief on social media. Human rights campaigner Maryam Namazie said the tweet was “disgraceful”.