The misuse of Balsphemy laws has taken many innocent lives in Pakistan
Influencers/ power holders in Pakistan accuse the person who belongs to the religious minorities over fake Blasphemy charges to settle their personal vendettas.
However, authorities always sided with the majority population.
Asif Pervaiz, a Christian man who was in prison since 2013 for Blasphemy has been sentenced to death by the trial court at Lahore today, although there was no such evidence presented to prove that he committed Blasphemy.
Academics and activists condemn allegations against Prof Sajid Soomro and call for inquiry
Academics, activists condemn allegations against Soomro, call for inquiry. PHOTO: FILE
A professor of Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, was arrested by the local police under blasphemy charges on Wednesday.
Prof Sajid Soomro, who is also a writer known for his books on Sindhi-Mohajir unity, was arrested from his house in Ali Murad Mohalla, Khairpur city.
According to eyewitnesses, police officials in at least four police vans cordoned off the area and tried to apprehend Soomro, who closed the door of his house and called friends to inform them about the raid prior to his arrest.
“Dozens of police officials were present to arrest him. We were shocked to see the police rush to arrest a university professor in this way,” said Advocate Fayaz Khamisani, Soomro’s friend and Khairpur Bar Association joint secretary.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Khamisani said that he tried to convince the police not to arrest Soomro, but they barged into the professor’s residence forcefully and detained him.
“The allegations are very serious,” stated Khamisani, explaining that Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, mentioned in the FIR against Soomro, was non-bailable. “We have to check if the police sought permission from the home department before registering this FIR.”
Activist and lawyer Sattar Zangejo, another friend of Soomro’s, said that such allegations would make matters difficult for many activists seeking to highlight issues in society. According to him, Soomro had been engaged in a tussle with Ahmed Solangi, another member of literary organisation Sindhi Adabi Sangat, in recent months.
Zangejo told The Express Tribune that Soomro had also participated in the funeral of renowned Sindh writer, historian and activist Atta Mohammad Bhanbhro, who passed away last week. “The unique will of Bhanbhro was fulfilled by people such as Soomro,” he said, adding that chains had been placed on Bhanbro’s grave in accordance with his will.
Condemning Soomro’s arrest and the charges against him, activists, writers and members of civil society demanded that the Sindh government initiate an inquiry into the registration fo such a case against a university teacher.
“We want the government to withdraw the blasphemy charges against Soomro,” insisted activist and Sindh University professor Dr Arfana Mallah. “I appeal to the educated people of Sindh to raise their voices against such acts.”
Meanwhile, Khairpur SSP Umar Tufail did not comment on the matter despite repeated calls.
The FIR, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, mentions that the case has been lodged by the state.
David Masih, who belongs to the Christian community were charged under Blasphemy laws. He lives in Nowshera, KPK, where the residents blamed him for mishandling the Quran. Now, his life is in danger.
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.”
Most of those accused of blasphemy belonged to the Shia community, who have been booked under 295-A and 298 sections of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly ‘insulting the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’. Similarly, members of Ahmadiyya and Christian communities are also among the people accused of blasphemy.
Pakistan & Blasphemy Cases:
29 July: A Peshawar resident accused of alleged blasphemy shot to death in the court
31 July: Policeman filed a blasphemy case against Raza Haider for one of his Facebook’s posts
— راٹھیPrem (@PremRathee) August 18, 2020
On Monday, Nowshera Police arrested a Christian man in the city after the locals in Risalpure accused him of allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran.
On Sunday, an elderly Shia man accused of issuing blasphemous remarks during a procession on Ashura was booked. A campaign had also begun on social media against the individual which was amplified by accounts of banned sectarian outfits.
Last month, a man was shot dead inside in a Peshawar courtroom by a youth over blasphemy allegations that the deceased had been facing for two years. Similarly, a man working as a private guard killed his colleague over an argument concerning religion.
Blasphemy accusations are highly inflammatory in deeply conservative Pakistan and have in the past sparked mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass 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.