Blasphemy related incidents in Pakistan as of May 2011

On January 4, Governor Salmaan Taseer was shot dead for wanting amendments to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws after Aasia Noreen was sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy.

On January 6, Muhammad Ishaq was sentenced to life imprisonment by a session’s court in Bahawalpur for ‘being a black magician’ and allegedly burning a copy of the Quran.

On January 7, 2011 a Muslim prayer leader Mohammad Shafi and his son Mohammad Aslam were jailed for life after being arrested in April 2010 for allegedly removing poster advertising an Islamic event after it was over.

On January 7, 2011 the Kot Addu police registered a blasphemy case against a mentally challenged Muslim at the request of a local mosque cleric allegedly in an attempt to settle a rivalry with the family of the accused.

On January 26, 2011, a woman named Amina accused her sister-in-law Zahira of blasphemy after an argument the night before. Zahira’s house was raided and she was beaten up. Zahira’s mother was also tortured. The leader of this torture squad, according to news sources, is said to be one named Muhammad Sameer, who belongs to the same religious group as that of Mumtaz Qadri, killer of Punjab’s ex-governor Salman Taseer early this month.

On January 29, 2011 a teenage boy Samiullah was arrested for allegedly writing blasphemous material on his examination answer sheets. Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) Controller of Examinations Agha Akbar Mirza said “it was the boy’s neck or mine.”

On January 30th, two brothers Shahnawaz and Ilyas were imprisoned over allegedly stealing copies of the Quran and burying them in the courtyard of their house.

On February 2nd, 2011 in Bahawalpur, additional district and sessions judge Malik Riaz Ahmed Khokhar handed down a death sentence along with Rs. 0.2 million fine for Jalalpur Peerwala. His crime was reportedly wearing a wooden slab hanging around his neck inscribed with blasphemous remarks.

On February 6. 2011 shopkeeper Shafique was arrested in Okara for tying a shoe to a flag bearing a holy symbol.
Another case reported on February 7, 2011 rival Muslim sects registered cases against each other in Rawalpindi after clashes with each other.

On February 8, 2011 in Multan pitted Dr Jalal against his brother Noor Khan. One followed a Deoband school of thought, and one followed Barelvi. Noor Khan’s sons were setting up a preaching centre opposite the house which apparently annoyed Dr. Jalal.

On February 20, 2011 a schoolteacher was booked by the Bhakkar police and subsequently lunched by a mob for allegedly disrespecting the images of holy places and the footprint of the Holy Prophet.

February 21, 2011 in Faislabad, the dispute on a residential plot among communities ended up in arrest of Christian woman under accusation of blasphemy charges by Muslims.

On February 26 in Multan, Muhammad Javed was accused of blasphemy because his friend allegedly sent a blasphemous text from his phone. Shahnawaz, his friend, was rounded up for blasphemy too.

On February 27 in Karachi, a mentally challenged person was accused of burning leaves of the Quran and accused of blasphemy.

On February 27, Tehmina Durrani, wife of CM Shahbaz Sharif, was accused of blasphemy for a book she wrote a few years ago.

On March 2, Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities was gunned down in Islamabad for condemning Salmaan Taseer’s murder and wanting amendments in the blasphemy law.

On March 4, a man accused in a blasphemy case was shot dead on the outskirts of Rawalpindi. Mohammad Imran was gunned down by three masked men near a bus stand in Danda village of Rawalpindi, a garrison city adjacent to the capital Islamabad, the Dawn newspaper reported.

On March 15, Qamar David, a Christian convict accused of blasphemy in 2006 was found dead in his prison cell. Prison guards claimed it was due to a heart attack, but David’s family and lawyer maintain David was in good health. The histopathology report is underway.

On March 23, Hardliner clerics from different mosques announced that the local Christians from the church deliberately burnt the pages of the holy Quran at a heap of garbage in the area. Muslim and Christian clerics a reached peace agreement with the condition that church authorities would suspend activities, especially at the time when Muslims living in the area offer prayers.

On March 25, in Sialkot, Faiz Ahmed allegedly tore apart the posters affixed by the Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran inside Jamia Masjid Ahle Sunnat. Pesh Imam announced the incident on loudspeaker. People gathered, protested, and lynched. He was taken into custody.

On March 25, Satrah police in Daska Tehsil registered a case against Abid Shah for allegedly speaking against the companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

On March 26, Gilgit-Baltistan joined the league of the country’s other self-righteous areas after the region’s first-ever blasphemy case was registered against a man who allegedly passed contemptuous comments against the Holy Prophet. A case was registered under the blasphemy law against Yaqoob Shah, son of Taifur Shah. Yaqoob is said to be a resident of Ghizer Valley, which is about 75 kilometres from Gilgit. SP Azam said that the man had been arrested and police had started an investigation into the case. The incident was reported at about 5.30 pm in Kondodas and the news spread like wildfire. Hundreds of people gathered outside the police station, calling for the man’s immediate arrest. As the crowd grew larger, shopkeepers closed their shops in anticipation of violence. The crowd, however, dispersed after police registered a case under the sections 295, 296, 298, 500, 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code (blasphemy law).

On April 7, an additional district and sessions judge (AD&SJ) dismissed the plea for registration of a case under the blasphemy law against Dr Waseem Ajmal, the managing director (MD) of Solid Waste Management (SWM) department. A parliamentary committee of the Punjab Assembly had ordered the police to register an FIR against him.

On April 9, in an apparent retaliation of the burning of the Holy Quran in Florida, a Muslim youngster tore into pieces a copy of the Bible at the entrance of a Lahore church and also tried to burn it before being caught red-handed. The incident happened outside Saint Joseph’s Church, situated on Lawrence Road, as Christians were busy in their religious services ahead of Good Friday. Sources in the Civil Lines Police Station said they have registered an FIR against the accused under section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code and arrested him. The offender, if convicted, could be jailed for 10 years.

On April 13, Pakistan’s blasphemy vigilantes killed an exonerated man, Mohamed Imran, Two weeks after he returned to his small patch of farmland on the rustic outskirts of Islamabad, two gunmen burst into the shoe shop where he sat talking to a friend, and opened fire on him.

On April 16, The Pakistan embassy in Washington sough to re investigate a blasphemy case against an American national who had been arrested in July 2009 on blasphemy charges.

On April 17, a Gojra-like incident in Gujranwala was narrowly averted after police took two Christian men into protective custody after some elements tried to create havoc and falsely accuse them of blasphemy charges.

On April 19, a man who murdered 2 Christian men who had allegedly committed blasphemy was sentenced to death and fined by an ATC in Faislabad.

On April 20, in Faisalabad, an ATC fined and sentenced to death a man who had killed two Christian brothers accused of blasphemy last year

On April 21, The Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) sues Lahore DCO Ahad Cheema for blasphemy. The decision was taken in a meeting of the SIC hierarchy in Lahore. A complaint was submitted at a proper forum within two to three days. Blasphemy laws were invoked for the purported desecration of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) name inscribed on hoardings, billboards and banners of the organisation which were removed on the orders of the DCO from various parts of the city.

On April 29, 65 followers of Pir Gohar Shahi fled away from Pakistan to India to save them from persecution on blasphemy charges. They were put in jail after they refused to go back to their country. Now the UN has categorized them as refugees. There are 19 women, 7 children, and 39 men.

On May 1, hundreds of activists of religious parties turned violent in Gujranwala and attacked a Christian seminary, a church as well as houses of Christians- including a pastor. The protestors also smashed a Christian missionary school. 50 people were injured.

On May 24, extremist Muslims lodged a blasphemy case against a handicap Christian in Lahore. His family have fled their homes after a Muslim mob threatened to harm them

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