3 July, 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


» 07/04/2005
PAKISTAN
Police fail to uphold amended Blasphemy Law
by Qaiser Felix
The chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance criticises police following attacks against Christians and Hindus in Noswhera and after a man is arrested for allegedly desecrating the Qu'ran.

Noswhera (AsiaNews) – In arresting Yousaf Masih for allegedly desecrating the Qu'ran, the police failed to uphold the recent amendments made by Pakistan's parliament to the country's Blasphemy Law, this according to Shahbaz Bhatti, chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA).

In an interview with AsiaNews, Mr Bhatti called for Masih's immediate release and condemned the attacks that took place against Hindus and Christians in the city of Nowshera after the man's arrest on June 28.

On the same day, a Muslim mob burnt down the Hindu Lamba Vera temple and ransacked nearby Christian and Hindu homes in a town 40 km east of Peshawar (North-West Frontier Province).

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reported that some 70 Hindu and Christian women and children fled their homes in Lal Kurthi, near Noswhera, fearing for their lives after the temple was torched; they have not yet returned.

Yousaf Masih, 60, a sweeper by profession, was asked to burn some garbage and papers. Among the waste to be disposed, there were some verses of the Qu'ran. However, being illiterate, Mr Masih could not know what he had to destroy.

"The blasphemy case against Yousaf Masih is baseless," Mr Bhatti said. "Police registered the case [. . .] without any investigation or proof, which clearly proves the growing misuse of Blasphemy law in Pakistan."

The Blasphemy Law refers to sections b and c of article 295 in Pakistan's Penal Code. The first one refers to offences against the Qu'ran and carry life sentences; the second one involves defamatory actions against the prophet Muhammad that are punishable by the death penalty.

For the APMA chairman, bringing blasphemy charges "against Yousaf Masih without any investigation and proof contradicts and negates the government announcement last year about bringing procedural amendments to the blasphemy law".

In October 2004, parliament had amended the law in order to avoid abuses. Under the amended law, the police is required to investigate allegations before charging and arresting anyone.

Under the previous rules, suspects could be picked up without prior investigation.

Bhatti said many Christians and members of other religious minorities have been incarcerated under the Blasphemy Law and some have even been killed extra judicially.

His concern for Yousaf Masih's fate is compounded by the latter's heart condition.

"Police, local administration and the government of NWFP will be [held] directly responsible in case any harm or mishap comes to him in police custody," Bhatti warned.

Mr Masih is currently detained in Peshawar's Central Prison.

Mr Bhatti has appealed to Pakistan's Prime Minister for Masih's release; he has also called for the protection of his life, that of his family, and that of Christians and other religious minorities in Nowshera.

Ghur Saran Lal, a Hindu Member of the local Provincial Assembly, also expressed his concern over the temple attack.

So far the police has arrested 13 people for the attack; another 148 were detained for possession of a deadly weapon, whilst another 149 were arrested for unlawful assembly.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
11/03/2004 PAKISTAN
Blasphemy law: death threats against teenage girl forces family to flee
06/08/2006 PAKISTAN
Two Christians accused of blasphemy released
by Qaiser Felix
02/04/2005 PAKISTAN
New cases of violence and torture against Pakistani Christians
08/19/2011 PAKISTAN
Punjab: Christian family held slave to a Muslim landowner for 30 years
by Jibran Khan
05/26/2011 PAKISTAN
Anti-Christian violence in Faisalabad: tombs desecrated, young woman gang-raped

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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.