Suspect David (center) allegedly admitted tearing pages out of the Quran. (Photo supplied)
A Christian man has been arrested in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Nowshera under the country’s blasphemy laws, local media reported.
The suspect, identified by police only as David, has been accused of desecrating the Quran, the Islamic holy book, according to the Tribal News Network.
The arrest came a few days after a video went viral on social media platforms showing pages of the Quran in a drain in Risalpur, a city in Nowshera district.
Acting on the complaints of local Muslims, police launched an investigation and arrested David.
David confessed and told investigators that he tore pages out of the Quran to practice witchcraft, the report said.
Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in deeply conservative Pakistan where unproven accusations can lead to mob lynchings, vigilante murders and violent protests.
Up to 80 people are known to be imprisoned in Pakistan on blasphemy charges, half of whom face life in prison or the death penalty, according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Amnesty International last week called for a repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, noting the alarming uptick in blasphemy accusations across the country.
“The broad, vague and coercive nature of the blasphemy laws violate the rights to freedom of religion and belief and of opinion and expression. They have been used to target some of the most marginalized people in society, including children, individuals with mental disabilities, members of religious minorities, and poorer people,” said David Griffiths of Amnesty International.
“Pakistani authorities need no more evidence to see how dangerous the blasphemy laws are — they are abused to make false accusations that can, and have, led to unlawful killings and even whole communities being attacked and their homes burned.”