» 11/02/2013, 00.00
Punjab, Christians hunted for blasphemy: fireworks wrapped in Koran pages
The two Christians and their families have fled for fear of being killed. The two fireworks vendors say they are innocent: they bought them from a factory owned by Muslims.
AsiaNews) - Two Pakistani Christians and their families are fleeing for their
lives after being accused of blasphemy against the Koran. The two
proclaim their innocence and fear for their lives.
Masih and Tariq Masih are owners of a store where they sell fireworks in Thatta
Faqirullah (Wazirabad , Punjab ) . On
October 27 they sold Muhammad Zahid a set of fireworks for his wedding party. Since
some of them failed to go off, some of the wedding guests opened them to see why
they did not work and found that the powders were wrapped in pages containing verses
of the Koran. The
discovery shocked the newlyweds and their guests who immediately destroyed the
store of both Christians and denounced the two to the police.
Masih tells AsiaNews : "We do not manufacture fireworks, we buy them from
a factory near Gujranwala and we do not know what materials they use. Moreover,
these factories are owned by Muslims and no Christian works inside there."
adds : "We have not even touched the pages of the Koran. The idea of using
these pages for fireworks is beyond all imagination because we are well aware
of the consequences."
people of Thatta Faqirullah did not believe the two Christians and called on
the police to arrest them and an exemplary punishment for those who insult
have threatened that if the police do not act, they will hunt and kill them to
the two blasphemers themselves.
Masih and Tariq Masih, along with their families, fled from the area, fearing
for their lives.
James, of the Diocese of Sialkot, comments: "This is a sad incident that the
marginalized are being victimized, a poor vendor is being targeted for
something he has not done, the violent and aggressive mobs are hunting them
down to kill them. For how long will the minorities have to face the abuse of
the law? The concerned authorities should act responsibly and ensure that the
law and order situation remains in control and no innocent has to suffer".
Pakistan, the blasphemy law is often used against Christian minorities , Sikhs,
Ahmadis, but also against Muslims in order to pursue personal vendettas . Last
month a Christian was beheaded in Karachi, accused of blasphemy, for reasons
related to professional rivalry .
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Marginalization, threats, and misery for families charged with blasphemy
Arrests, fines, humiliations, lack of security, and possible attacks are typical for families whose members have been accused of blasphemy against the Qur'an. The case of James Masih and Boota Masih, sentenced to 10 years without any proof.
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A Pakistani district court has condemned to Younis Masih, accused of having offended Muhammad and the Koran. His defence lawyer denounces the lack of any proof and police negligence and prepares an appeal.
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