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Pakistan's envoy to US faces potentially deadly blasphemy accusation

Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images, file

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., seen in November last year, is facing accusations of blasphemy.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A petition accusing Pakistan's ambassador to the United States of committing blasphemy has been filed with the country's Supreme Court.

Police were directed on Thursday to investigate allegations against Sherry Rehman, who has already faced death threats from militants after calling for reforms to the country's anti-blasphemy law, according to court documents.

If the police find that there is enough evidence to support the allegations, the court will press charges against Rehman.

According to Pakistan's blasphemy laws, anyone found to have uttered words derogatory to the Prophet Muhammad can be put to death.

And those who are accused are sometimes lynched by mobs even if they are found innocent by the courts.

The allegations against Rehman, which revolve around comments she made on Pakistani television in 2010, are being brought by Muhammad Faheem Ahkter Gill, a 31-year-old businessman who owns a marble business in the city of Multan. 

Gill was watching the television interview with Rehman with two friends. He said he felt her comments were derogatory to the Prophet Muhammad and, being a Muslim, it was his responsibility to do something about it.

"I had been striving to get a blasphemy case registered against her since 2010, but in vain. Today the supreme court has ordered (the police) to register a case against her," he said. 

Muhammed Muheisen / AP

Images of daily life, political pursuits, religious rites and deadly violence.

In November, a Pakistani Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, who was accused of burning pages of Muslim holy texts was cleared of blasphemy.

Rehman, a prominent member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), was appointed as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States in November 2011.

Before being named envoy, she led the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and was a ranking member of the National Security Committee in the country's Parliament.

She also the founding chairperson of the Jinnah Institute, a non-partisan public policy think tank "committed to the strengthening of democracy, governance and an independent national security project in Pakistan," according to the website of Pakistan's embassy in the United States.

Reuters contributed to this report

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