Original story: A former Pakistani pop singer has issued a pleading public apology after a video of him apparently criticising the Prophet Muhammad's wife was shared on social media, leading to an investigation into suspected blasphemy being launched by authorities.
Junaid Jamshed, who was the lead singer of band Vital Signs, was caught on camera while allegedly making derogatory remarks about the prophet Muhammad's youngest wife Ayesha. Jamshed allegedly claimed that the girl would always demand more attention from the Prophet.
"Mother Ayesha was an attention seeker. She would often fake illness to gain the attention of the Prophet Muhammad," he allegedly said. "Even a prophet's companionship cannot change the nature of a woman."
A video of Jamshed's remarks went viral and prompted hundreds of people to protest and call for his arrest for "hurting religious sentiments of Muslims".
Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, chief of the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek organisation said: "Juniad Jamshed should be immediately arrested and put on trial under the blasphemy laws. He doesn't deserve to be forgiven for his sacrilegious remarks about the Mother of Believers, Hazrat Ayesha."
The 50-year-old artist issued a public apology in another video published on social media, in which he admitted to making a mistake and pleaded for forgiveness: "This is my mistake and it happened because of my ignorance and lack of knowledge and I seek forgiveness from the Muslim world. I request my brothers to forgive me and I am thankful to them for pointing out my mistake, it happened unintentionally and I seek forgiveness from Allah."
The police have opened a blasphemy investigation and it is also believed that Islamic authorities issued a fatwa – a religious ruling which sometimes results in a death sentence.
The country's criminal code states: "Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both."
In 1982, a clause prescribed life imprisonment for "willful" desecration of the Qu'ran. Then in 1986, a separate clause was inserted to punish blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed and the penalty recommended was "death, or imprisonment for life".
A British man diagnosed with schizophrenia was sentenced to capital punishment for blasphemy in March 2014. He is currently on death row. In October, a Christian couple were beaten and burned alive in a kiln by an angry mob following allegations of blasphemy.
Asia Bibi, a Pakistan Christian woman who has been on death row since 2010 on charges of blasphemy, lodged an appeal in November with the country's top court asking to spare her life.