Abbottabad: three people arrested on blasphemy charges (VIDEO)
by Shafique Khokhar

A transgender person and two brothers have been accused of burning pages of the Qurʼān. The three were beaten by local residents with police only intervening later. The blasphemy law continues to be used to settle personal matters.

Abbottabad (AsiaNews) – Police in Punjab arrested three people after they were accused of burning pages of the Qurʼān.

First, Qaiser Zada, a transgender person, was brutally beaten in Abbottabad (see video). Later, when police intervened, residents accused Zada ​​of burning some pages of the Muslim holy book.

According to a witness, Faraz Pervaiz, who shared a video on Facebook, a mawlawi (Islamic scholar) wanted to have sex with Zada.

When the latter refused, the religious leader got people to beat the young person, who was then accused of blasphemy by locals.

The suspect ​​has been in custody for three days and will appear before a magistrate to answer the charges, this according to the local Deputy Superintendent of Police Raja Mehboob.

A crowd gathered on the Abbottabad-Havelian Road; others tried to storm the Havelian police station demanding police hand over alleged blasphemers but agents were able to disperse the mob using tear gas.

In another incident, two brothers, Asif and Abdullah Fareed, were arrested after some elders and ulama accused them of burning pages of the Qurʼān.

According to data collected by the Centre for Social Justice, a Pakistani humanitarian group, at least 1,549 people have been accused of blasphemy between 1987 and 2017. Before 1986 only 14 cases were reported.