2 April, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 05/17/2014
PAKISTAN
Accused of blasphemy, man killed in police station
by Jibran Khan
A 15-year-old boy is the murderer. The issue began when the dead man complained against a shopkeeper who had displayed a sign with derogatory remarks about Ahmadis. The latter responded by filing a formal complaint.

Lahore (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Accused of blasphemy, Khalil Ahmad, 65, was killed yesterday by gunshots inside a police station by a 15-year-old boy, in Sharaqpur village, near Lahore, Punjab.

The incident began when Ahmad and three other people complained to a shopkeeper who had displayed a sign with derogatory comments about Ahmadis, an Islamic minority considered heretical by mainstream Muslims.

The shopkeeper refused to comply and after a heated argument made a formal complaint of blasphemy against Khalil Ahmed. Arrested last Tuesday, the father of four was taken to Sharaqpur police station.

Yesterday evening, a young man presented himself to police, asked to see Ahmad, and as the latter approached, shot him. He was arrested by police.

The incident is yet another example of the 'black law' at work adopted in 1986 by then dictator Zia-ul-Haq to satisfy the Islamist demands.

The 'law' imposes life in prison or the death sentence on anyone who desecrates the Qur'an or insults the name of the prophet Muhammad.

As a result, religious minorities are constantly intimated, including Ahmadis. Formally declared as 'non-Muslims' in 1984, many of them have been arrested for reading verses of the Qur'an or having them engraved on rings. In 2010, 86 of them were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Lahore.

Over the years, the so-called black law has come to be used as a tool to settle personal scores or to use in business disputes. It has also been used to seize assets that belong to members of religious minorities. Indeed, the number of cases has grown exponentially, from one in 2001 to 80 in 2011.

In many cases, like that of Khalil Ahmad, disputes end in murder. Just last week for example, lawyer Rashid Rehman Khan, a prominent human rights advocate involved in the legal defence of a university professor accused of blasphemy, was himself shot dead. On a previous occasion, he had been threatened in a courtroom by fellow lawyers.

Likewise, earlier in the week, 68 lawyers were accused of blasphemy in Jhang District, Punjab. Mostly Shia, the lawyers had taken to the streets to protest against the police for arresting without reason one of their colleagues.

As a result of the rally, the lawyers were accused of insulting the name of a close relative of Muhammad in what is for all intents and purposes a bitter dispute between police and members of the legal profession.

Following the latest incidents, human rights organisations Life for All Pakistan and the Masih Foundation have announced intention to stage protest rallies in Lahore to express solidarity with the Ahmadi community.

For Fr John Aslam, a clergyman from the Diocese of Lahore, what happened to Khalil Ahmad was tragic, the third blasphemy case in two weeks.

The victim, the priest, said "was falsely accused and fell prey to the extremist mind-set. A teenager killed without even asking whether he had committed blasphemy or not. A simple discussion over blasphemy led to an extreme reaction. The man was in police custody. Not letting the courts decide the fate of defendants and taking the law in your hands in the name of religion is insanity."

Even Muslim scholar Abid Ali condemned the incident, saying that "this case shows that the police is helpless and [that it] failed to protect an accused. Killing an innocent in the name of religion is unacceptable. Religious minorities have the right to practice their beliefs".


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
02/13/2009 PAKISTAN
Presumed guilty five Ahmadis arrested in Punjab for blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix
04/19/2011 BANGLADESH
Christians and Ahmadis take a first “positive, enriching and constructive” step
08/06/2014 PAKISTAN
"I saw my niece burn alive." The dramatic story of an attack on Ahmadis in Punjab
by Jibran Khan
06/17/2006 PAKISTAN
Two Muslims accused of blasphemy murdered in two days
by Qaiser Felix
04/08/2010 PAKISTAN
Punjab Muslim fundamentalists against the Ahmadis, three traders killed
by Fareed Khan

Editor's choices
IRAN
Time for a deal with Tehran, a reliable partner against the Islamic State group
by Bernardo Cervellera A framework agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has to be inked by 31 March. US Republicans, Israel and Saudi Arabia are fiercely opposed to it for ulterior motives. Hassan Rouhani wants Iran to come back into the international fold. Tehran is playing a mediating role in the Middle East. For Vatican nuncio, “there is no evidence that Iran is preparing a nuclear bomb.”
CHINA - VATICAN
BREAKING NEWS: Chinese police seize two priests in Mutanjiang
by Bernardo Cervellera
CHINA-VATICAN
Nothing to toast between China and the Vatican: Beijing wants complete control
by Bernardo CervelleraFor the Global Times (the People's Daily) China does not like the "Vietnamese model" of agreed episcopal ordinations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s embarrassment in front of the Holy See’s countless efforts. China wants the Vatican to accept all excommunicated bishops and to keep silent on those who are underground and imprisoned. The case of Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang. Without religious freedom, diplomatic relations are pointless. The work of mission and the unity of Catholics in China. A task for Xi Jinping: implement the anti-corruption campaign in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Patriotic Association, which have grown rich over the decades on the backs of Christians.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.