ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan exonerated an individual facing life imprisonment on allegations of desecrating the Holy Quran here on Wednesday.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Qazi Faez Isa issued the order after hearing the prosecution and defendant’s lawyer.

The defendant’s lawyer told the court that her client had been accused of burning pages of the Holy Book. adding that the defendant was a drug addict residing in Multan in 2006, when the incident allegedly took place.

The counsel argued that police had found no trace of burnt pages of the Holy Quran at the site of the incident.

The lawyer told the bench that, while the incident allegedly took place inside the accused’s house, the accused had unlawfully been booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, besides Sections 342 and 395-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

After examining the record and hearing the defendant’s arguments, the court ruled that the prosecution’s version, prima facie (based on the first impression), appeared to be false.

It noted that the complainant may even have brought previously burnt pages of the Holy Quran to the accused’s house in a bid to bolster the case unlawfully.

The apex court observed that the police itself did not collect evidence from the site adding that a matchbox was instead provided to the police by the complainant.

“The prosecution did not check whether the matchbox was new or used,” the court said.

The apex court also stated that the lower courts appeared not to have conducted a fair trial of the case.

“Why were sections pertaining to terrorism added [to the charges against the accused]?” the bench inquired.

The court subsequently issued the order to absolve the defendant of all charges, citing a lack of substantial and credible evidence.