(ominous music) - My name is Mohammed Ali Naqvi.
You can call me Mo.
I'm the filmmaker of "The Accused: Damned or Devoted?"
I'm originally from Pakistan, Karachi.
I've been making films for the last 20 years.
I've been a storyteller longer than that.
In Pakistan and not just in Pakistan, in a few other countries as well, there's a law called the blasphemy law.
This is like a modern day Spanish Inquisition, or even the Salem Witch Trials is comparable.
There's a section 295C, which basically states that if anyone directly or indirectly disrespects the Prophet or insults the Prophet, they can be put to death.
There's another provision of the law that says if you desecrate the Quran, then you can get life imprisonment.
So it's an incredibly harsh penalty.
No one has officially been put to death in all of Pakistan's history on the blasphemy law.
However, people have been murdered as a result of mob violence.
(brooding music) When I was first approached to do this film, I declined.
This is such a dangerous topic to take on because many people who even wanna criticize or amend the law can be themselves falsely charged of blasphemy.
I make these stories because I want these things to change in my home country and I want to hold those people accountable.
I think gone are the days, thank God, (chuckles) of European or American journalists in canvas, beige jackets parachuting into, like, different countries, staying at the hotel, working with the local fixers, getting whatever story that they want and then just bailing out, you know?
As much as I am an American, I am also a Pakistani, and it's important that we tell our own stories and we add those stories and tell those stories because those stories tell nuance.
The story of the blasphemy law, I'm not the only one who was telling it.
In fact, it was being covered quite a bit.
However, if you look at a lot of the way it was presented in Western media, it was always presented as a Muslim versus Christian minorities and other groups.
Literally, that's the prism that it was being presented as in Pakistan, which is ridiculous.
About half of the people who are accused of blasphemy are Muslims, and about half of them are minorities, so Christians, Hindus, and others.
(somber music) Unfortunately, there hasn't been any much change in the law itself.
In fact, some of the cases, last year especially, went up, but what has happened is there are other groups who basically go around trying to bring up pro bono blasphemy cases and take them to court.
The government kind of diverted its attention away from this.
Frankly, dealing with a lot of other things, which is political upheaval right now.