LAHORE: Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) additional inspector general Malik
Muhammad Iqbal said on Sunday in many cases the people with religious sentiments pressure
police to lodge the blasphemy cases.
He said the religious sentiments were rampant in society and sometimes it was
quite difficult to handle the situation sometimes. He cited the example of Imam-e-Kaaba’s visit. He said no one was invited to receive him, but thousands of people had thronged to
receive him and offer prayers behind him.
The CCPO said despite all the pressure the courts had been providing relief to
the blasphemy-convicted people. He said no doubt people have been taking advantage of
the blasphemy law, but this couldn’t be stopped without controlling religious
Sure, abuses occur, but hey, what can you do? Here’s an idea:
On the other side, the human rights organisations across the country have repeatedly been demanding the annulment of the law.
On April 1 in Toba Tek Singh six Christians were charged with blasphemy under
Sections 295 A, C, 452, 148 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code without the inquiry by an
SP. Younis Masih[‘s] case was also lodged without following the due
procedure. According to the statement of Younis Masih’s counsel, a sub inspector completed
the investigation within a day.
From May 9 to June 9 three incidents have been reported in the press in
which public pressure had been allegedly used to misuse blasphemy laws mainly to grab the
property of the accused persons. The cases were lodged under public pressure claiming
that the alleged blasphemers have hurted [sic] their sentiments. Younis Masih had
been sentenced to death on May 30 on charge of blasphemy…
On May 9, 79-year-old Walter
Fazal Khan was bathing in the morning when Riaz, who lived at the same house, knocked
at his door and told him that something was burning in the house. Later, they found a burnt
book in the drawing room, which Riaz found to be a copy of the Holy Quran. Riaz ran out
immediately, called local clerics and tried to beat Walter. Police were called and a case was lodged against Walter under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code. Walter was bailed
out of jail on May 29.
In a latest incident that happened on June 8 the Shahdara Town police registered a blasphemy case against a mentally- handicapped person Nadir Ali for allegedly burning his house, which had a few copies of the Holy Quran on June 9. The case was registered against Nadir under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Overcome with “religious sentiments”:
Several neighbours alleged the complainant Shahid wanted to grab Nadir’s property. The police officer concerned told Daily Times the police had registered an FIR
against Nadir under the public pressure. He admitted that there were reports that Shahid had wanted to grab Nadir’s property.