Blasphemy convict’s death in jail sparks suspicion

Published: March 16, 2011

Jail authorities say Christian inmate had a heart attack, family suspects murder.

KARACHI: 

Fifty-five-year-old Qamar David, a Christian serving a life sentence in two blasphemy cases, died on Tuesday of what jailers say was a heart attack but his family suspects it was murder.

David was being kept at Central Jail, Karachi. “My husband had no disease,” his wife Tabassum told The Express Tribune. “He informed me about receiving threats from someone in jail after the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti.

Jail Deputy Superintendent Raja Mumtaz refuted these claims. “No one killed him,” he said. “He died of a heart attack.” He was taken to Civil Hospital, Karachi where he died while being treated.

A postmortem will be held today in the presence of his family, a magistrate and the police surgeon.

Two cases of blasphemy were registered against him in the Saddar and Azizabad police stations in 2006 and one attempted murder case was registered by the Sir Syed police station. The victim’s family also filed a petition in the Sindh High Court where they challenged the life imprisonment. The attempted murder case was being heard.

David, who hailed from a town near Lahore, used to live in Lines Area and used to run a small business.

Background

On February 25, 2010, Additional District and Sessions Judge Jangu Khan found Qamar David guilty of blasphemy.

The judge sentenced David to life imprisonment under Sections 295A and 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, based on claims made by business rivals. He was accused of sending text messages which contained derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Christian human rights groups have demanded that a committee investigate the causes of the death. The Catholic Bishop of Islamabad/Rawalpindi Rufin Anthony conveyed his condolences to David’s family and said, “I am in grief, the whole Christian community has been grieving for the past few days. We haven’t recovered from the loss and this news has increased my concerns about the future of Christians in Pakistan. David was falsely accused of blasphemy. How much more blood do we still have to see to realise that the blasphemy laws need to be abolished? How much blood does the government wants to have on its hands? Another sad day for the minorities in Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2011.

Reader Comments (19)

  • John
    Mar 16, 2011 - 8:52AM

    Where is Asia Bibi?Recommend

  • Mazar
    Mar 16, 2011 - 8:59AM

    Shame on Pakistan!!where there is no justiceRecommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Mar 16, 2011 - 9:29AM

    So the white in our flag should be replaced now .. Recommend

  • MastMaula
    Mar 16, 2011 - 9:30AM

    Pakistan has become a country of uncivilized and rotten. Barbarism and brainlessness has engulfed the country. May god save the human beings in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Mar 16, 2011 - 9:49AM

    Another sad day ??? are you kidding me the previlages minority get in Pakistan are much higher compared to the majority.

    Its all political agenda to get more over this.

    I condole on your loss. But don’t blame laws and there implementation .Identify the reason why this happend. Laws are written for benifit of the community. People miss use it and i have found the nature of my people to miss use a law and then proudly announce it.

    I am shameful and pray my people will become pakistani.Recommend

  • In God We Trust.
    Mar 16, 2011 - 11:55AM

    Well done Faraz Khan sahib! Give me more such news we will make a case for America to take over Pakistan, Shabash!! Recommend

  • Sid
    Mar 16, 2011 - 12:35PM

    sad. indeed sad..Recommend

  • anis kazi
    Mar 16, 2011 - 1:00PM

    @in god we trust; america taking over pakistan? is that all your’re interested in and can conclude from a news item such as this?Recommend

  • Ali
    Mar 16, 2011 - 5:40PM

    Is it necessary to have any disease before heart-attack can take your life? When you will understand that for every Christian being killed in Pakistan, there are at least 100 other Muslims who lost their life by the same hands?Recommend

  • Musthaq Ahmed
    Mar 16, 2011 - 7:32PM

    @Ali:
    Dear Ali,
    You are fit to be named one of the finishing-off fathers of this nation. You are the very apple of the eye of enemies.Recommend

  • John
    Mar 16, 2011 - 8:53PM

    It is very likely that he died of natural causes in the jail. The jail authorities should be incredibly stupid if they let him die in the hands of others in the present situation.

    But the real issue is should he be there in the first place.

    PAK people released tR. Davis on accepting money. So is justice in Pakistan reserved for the one who have the money and connection?

    Where is Asia Bibi and all her alike ones?

    No answer, it is man made law thing, sanctity of religious ideals, it is all mullahs and etc., is going to satisfy any ones conscience.

    One law for R. Davis and one for Asia Bibi.

    Today the ministers Taseer and Bhatti are assassinated again. Recommend

  • Hassan Bajwa
    Mar 16, 2011 - 9:50PM

    @ Ehsan

    You clearly haven’t the foggiest idea what minorities in Pakistan go through. If discrimination before the law, suppression of opinion, denial of the right to practice and preach and social marginalization are “privileges” then by all means you are right.

    However don;t try to kid yourself by saying that minorities have it “easy” in Pakistan, because they most certainly do NOT.

    This is not a matter of “good” laws being implemented in a “bad” way, but rather a matter of legislation that is both principally and procedurally unjust.

    There is no conceivable way in which these laws can ever hope to be “correctly” implemented. They provide absolutely NO benefit to society in general, but DO indeed provide our self-appointed “guardians of the faith” with a handy club with which to bludgeon any opposition into submission. There is not a single islamic scholar (save those who derive personal power from the existence of these laws – i believe this is known as a conflict of interest) who supports the existence of these laws. At least none that applaud these laws in their current ludicrous form.

    I too pray that the people of this nation wake up. But i hope they wake up to the realization that to be a good muslim and to live acccording to the sunnah requires the ABOLITION of this idiotic legislation that so clearly contravenes the spirit of the Quran and the actions of the Prophet (pbuh)Recommend

  • Hassan Bajwa
    Mar 16, 2011 - 9:54PM

    It really doesn’t matter whether he was killed or died of natural causes… he shouldn;t have been in jail in the first place. He wouldn’t have been if our courts weren’t obliged to put aside all considerations of justice and decency in the name of the Blasphemous Laws. Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 17, 2011 - 1:14AM

    Of course he was murdered. The family should insist on a post-mortem and not bury him quickly.Recommend

  • M. Ali
    Mar 17, 2011 - 4:20AM

    Why don’t people who complain about blasphemy law realise that punishment of blasphemy has been there right from the time of Prophet (SAW). Don’t we know that on day of conquest of Mecca almost all of the able bodied population of Mecca was put to sword due to using abusive language against our beloved Prophet (SAW). It was only later that people distorted history and wrote that every body was forgiven.Recommend

  • Javed
    Mar 17, 2011 - 5:13AM

    @Ehsan: Anything you don’t understand cannot be termed anti-Pakistani. Think about it.Recommend

  • atiya
    Mar 17, 2011 - 7:06AM

    how many more people will be killed or murderred on behalf of this babaric law.people use this excuse to get revenge and on top of itpakistan have mullahs’ problem like fanatics and it’s very easy to exite poor and illiterate people to get their purposes done.keep on killing innocents and soon very you’ll be doomed.instead of concentrate of well being of the state and people the corrupt goverment is busy to resolve blasphemy cases.shame what a shameRecommend

  • atiya
    Mar 17, 2011 - 7:13AM

    when us pakistani people dont provide justice to our own people living in our own country how can we think to receive justice from other government example raymond davis case.start from own home 1st like focus on the minister case who was recently murdered just because he was supporting minority group.first provide justice in our own home first then expect from others.we’re the one who are giving chances after chances to talk about us by creating irrational cases and insulting humanity.Recommend

  • Hassan Bajwa
    Mar 17, 2011 - 1:44PM

    @ M.Ali

    If history was “distorted” then how in the world would YOU know? I have heard many a nonsense theories attempting to justify the barbarity of the Blasphemous Laws, but i applaud your ability to reach a whole new level of idiocy.

    Any punitive action of the sort that you claim directly CONTRADICTS THE QURAN. There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that the Prophet (pbuh) engaged in such mindless, petty and barbaric acts of vengeance.

    I find it patently immoral that you are justifying today’s vile law by claiming that the Prophet (pbuh) did the same but that it was “covered up” (conspiracy nut very much?). Apart from being intellectually dishonest, it is just a sad sad SAD way to justify something that goes the fundamental spirit and ethos of Islam.

    Anyhow the basic immorality of these laws are clear for all to see. By their very existence they make a mockery of Islam in a manner that no amount of “blasphemy” ever could.Recommend

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