Timeline: Pakistan Blasphemy law cases, Jan-July 2011

Published: August 4, 2011

Scores of Pakistanis have been harassed and implicated in false cases instituted by misusing the country’s blasphemy laws. Additionally, allegations of blasphemy have led to assassinations, extrajudicial killings and threats to life and property.

The list below provides details of people accused and sentenced under the blasphemy laws, harassment of minorities as well as extra-judicial killings of blasphemy accused and people connected with the issue from January – July 2011.

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NEW CASES

Location Description
Kot Addu 

 

January 8 – Mohammad Amjad, believed to be mentally challenged, is accused of committing blasphemy along with his father and a relative. The case was filed at the request of local cleric Mohammad Sajid. (Section 295-B, PPC Section 109)
Bhakkar 

 

January 17 – Shahnawaz filed an FIR against Muhammad Javed of Dullewala. He claimed that he had received text messages from an unknown cell number that contained blasphemous remarks.
Karachi 

 

January 28 – Syed Samiullah, 17, was accused of blasphemy for allegedly writing blasphemous remarks in his exam answer-sheets. (Section 295-C)
Mansehra January 31 – Shahnawaz and another man were accused of blasphemy for allegedly stealing copies of the Quran and burying them in a courtyard.
Okara 

 

February 6 – Shamsia Colony resident Shafique was arrested for committing blasphemy, since he had allegedly tied a shoe to a flag bearing a religious symbol. (Section 295-A)
Rawalpindi According to Pakistan Today, two Muslim sects clashed in Rawalpindi and were charged under the blasphemy and anti-terrorism laws.
Multan Noor Khan was accused of blasphemy by his brother. Khan’s brother was reportedly raising slogans of ‘Sada-i-Madina,’ when Khan and a man called Maulvi Idrees accusing him of uttering “blasphemous” words about sacred personalities.
Bhakkar February 20 –School teacher Tanveer Ahmed was beaten up by a mob that was incited by announcements on mosques’ loudspeakers and text messages. A student had complained that Ahmed had disrespected images of holy places and the footprint of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).
Faisalabad 

 

February 16 – According to the Pakistan Christian Post, Agnes Nuggo was charged of blasphemy by a group of Muslims who failed to acquire a plot of land from her. (Section 295-A)
Karachi 

 

February 26 – Idrees Khan was arrested by the Landhi police after his neighbours handed him over for allegedly setting leaves of the holy book on fire. According to his father, a day before the incident, he and Idrees visited a pesh imam of a mosque, who asked them to bury the leaves of the Quran after setting them on fire.
Gilgit 

 

March 26 – Abdur Rauf lodged a complaint with the police that a man named Yaqoob had allegedly used abusive language against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). March 27 – Yaqoob’s father shows documents to the police to prove his son is mentally ill. (Sections 295, 296, 298, 500, 506)
Lahore 

 

March 30 – Shadbagh resident Qasim lodged an FIR against Irfan Rafique. Qasim said that he had received a text message which contained derogatory language about Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). He said that he and three others discovered that Rafique used the number from which the text message was sent. (Section 295-C)
Lahore 

 

April 8 – Case filed against Kasur resident Akhtar Hussain for tearing a Bible outside St Joseph’s Church in retaliation for American pastor Terry Jones burning copies of the Quran. (Section 295-A)
Gujranwala 

 

April 15 – Gujranwala police took two Christian men into protective custody after people tried to spark violence by accusing them of desecrating the Quran and committing blasphemy against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) (Sections 295-B, 295-C)
Mardan 

 

April 19 – Ebadullah was accused by his father of desecrating the Quran. (Section 295-B)
Sargodha 

 

May 26 – Basharat arrested on charges of allegedly sending text messages that contained blasphemous content about the companions of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). (Sections 295-A, 298-A)
Karachi July 2 – 25-year-old Muslim arrested, accused of burning the Holy Quran
Karachi 

 

July 29 – Printing press owner and colleague arrested after being accused of printing a book with allegedly blasphemous material. (Section 295-A)

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DEATHS ASSOCIATED WITH THE BLASPHEMY LAW

 

Location Description
Islamabad January 4 – Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer assassinated by his bodyguard Malik Mumtaz Qadri
Islamabad March 2 – Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti assassinated. The Punjab Taliban and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility.
Rawalpindi March 5 – Mohammad Imran, who was released along with Sajid Mehmood on February 13, 2010, was sitting at a shop near a bus stand in Danda village when three masked gunmen killed him.
Karachi 

 

March 15 – Qamar David, who was serving a life sentence in two blasphemy cases, dies in Central Jail. Jail officials say he died of a heart attack, but his lawyer said he had been in good health. His autopsy report was not made public. (Sections 295-A, 295-C)
Lahore July 17 – Shaukat Ali, who was serving a sentence after being convicted on blasphemy charges, dies at Services Hospital. Jail officials say he died of natural causes, but his family said they were unaware he was unwell.

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HARASSMENT

Location Description
Lahore January 15 – Two Christian women beaten by an angry mob over frivolous blasphemy allegations
Karachi January 18 – Amar Ali and Nazia Amar, who were accused of desecrating the Holy Quran and Hadith in Sialkot, protested at the press club and denied the allegations
Islamabad January 31 –Senator Humayun Mandokhel discusses activist Marvi Sirmed in the Senate, who had invited him to Salmaan Taseer’s chehlum and used the word ‘shaheed’ (martyr) to refer to him in a text message, which he disagreed to. Mandokhel asked to file a privilege motion against Sirmed since their exchange had been reported in the press. According to Sirmed, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Senator Ibrahim also reacted to the word martyr similarly. (Personal interview)
Lahore, Karachi February 25 – Banners appear in cities accusing Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s wife Tehmina Durrani of committing blasphemy in her 1998 bookBlasphemy.
Lahore April 6 – An attempt by Christian workers to file the FIR of a blasphemy case against the MD of the Solid Waste Management department dismissed by an additional district and sessions judge.
Gujranwala April 30 – Hundreds of people attacked a Christian seminary, a church and houses of Christians after police release two Christians who had been accused of blasphemy from protective custody.
Sialkot May – Bookseller Gulzar Masih accused of committing blasphemy after former partner’s son says his workers burned pages of the Holy Quran. The dispute is solved by market elders
Lahore May 18 – Clerics attacked blasphemy accused Irfan Rafique’s lawyer at sessions court and take an undertaking from him that he would not appear before the court to defend Rafique.
Kahna May 29 – Muhammad Shoaib and three men entered a church in Lakhoki village and desecrated the Bible.
Lahore May 30 – Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Samiul Haq) called for the Bible to be banned on account of allegedly containing blasphemous material
Lahore July 5 – PPP Lahore president Samina Khalid Ghurki accused of committing blasphemy by clerics
Lahore July 12 – 30 Barelvi clerics issued a fatwa condemning a newspaper advertisement of the Population Welfare Department which they said insulted the beard. On July 13, Tahafuz Namoos-e-Rasalat nominates the editors, publishers and printers of Jang, Nawa-e-Waqt and Daily Express in an application stating they committed blasphemy by publishing the advertisement. It asks that they be tried along with the other offenders under Section 295-A, while the chief minister and chief secretary should be prosecuted under section 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Lahore July 22 – Barelvi clerics protest against the police for not filing an FIR against a man accused of blasphemy.

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SENTENCES

Location Description
Bahawalpur 

 

January 6 – Man sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court for allegedly burning a copy of the Quran. (Section 295-B)
Daira Din Panah 

 

January 11 – Mosque imam Mohammad Shafi and his son Mohammad Aslam jailed for life on blasphemy charges. (Sections 295-C, 295-A)
Bahawalpur 

 

February 3 – A sessions court handed down the death sentence and a Rs0.2 million fine to a man in Jalalpur Peerwala for committing blasphemy. (Sections 295-C, 298-A)

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BAIL

Location Description
Lahore 

 

February 10 – The Lahore High Court granted bail to a man accused of blasphemy who had been in jail for four months. (Section 295-B)

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ACQUITTAL

Location Description
Rawalpindi June 2 – An additional district and sessions judge cleared Hector Haleem, Basharat Masih and Robin Masih of blasphemy charges. The case was registered last March. The court ordered criminal action against the investigation officer and the complainant after they could not prove charges against the accused.

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• The blasphemy law in Pakistan’s Penal Code can be read here.

• To view the cases on Google Maps click here.

• To download an excel sheet containing the above, click here.

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Sources: The Express Tribune, Dawn, The News, Daily Times, Pakistan Today, Pakistan Christian Post

Disclaimer: This timeline and corresponding data is based on published news reports. Several of these cases have been verified independently; however The Express Tribune has not verified the status of each case. Please alert us of any additional cases by leaving a comment/link below.

Reader Comments (21)

  • Omer bin Abdulaziz
    Aug 4, 2011 - 2:29PM

    “Disclaimer: This timeline and corresponding data is based on published news reports. Several of these cases have been verified independently; however The Express Tribune has not verified the status of each case. Please alert us of any additional cases by leaving a comment/link below.”

    If the cases haven’t verified, why did you publish it? This will only create confusion.
    Are you trying to twist public opinion in your favour?

    Recommend

  • M M Malik
    Aug 4, 2011 - 2:48PM

    Have the blasphemy charges, acquittals and sentences enhanced the high spiritual station of our Holy Prophet (saw)? Our Rahmat-lil-Alameen (saw) is above all this.

    Recommend

  • Eeman
    Aug 4, 2011 - 3:22PM

    We’re practicing Muslims. It’s a Zionist conspiracy to defame Ummah which is regarded as highly respectable globally :)

    Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Aug 4, 2011 - 3:31PM

    Very nice effort to bring forward the abuses. Hope this gets published in Urdu papers as well.

    Recommend

  • rusm
    Aug 4, 2011 - 3:42PM

    Eeman what hole do you live in. Probably the one abdulaziz lives in.
    This evil law should be eradicated or is Islam not about justice?

    Recommend

  • Asif Aqeel
    Aug 4, 2011 - 4:02PM

    This is a very good effort by Saba Imtiaz. However, it could have been great if two other blasphemy cases had been included in the list. Dildar Masih of Mian Channu was accused in June and Babar Masih of Chichawatni was accused in May of blasphemy. But still very good work!Recommend

  • Tush Tush
    Aug 4, 2011 - 4:14PM

    What a mess!! We are barbarians, more horrifying than beasts!!Recommend

  • Aug 4, 2011 - 4:24PM

    OmerAbdulaziz, it is only a disclaimer. The data is only as good as the published news reports. Relax guy.

    Anyway, I think this is magnificent work. Well done.

    Recommend

  • Khalil
    Aug 4, 2011 - 4:59PM

    An excellent compilation!
    Now that all of it is lumped together, we can see how this law is being used and abused by people for personal gains.

    I hope something is done of this, and that we get out of this darkness.

    Recommend

  • creative Gen
    Aug 4, 2011 - 5:17PM

    Hmmm…Well, Your research did not teach you that blasphemy law was mostly used against Muslims. You took a few recent examples, which mostly involve misuse of the law against non-Muslims.
    And you were ignorant enough to fail to realize that NO ONE to date has been put to death under this law. Sentences were announced, and thats about it.
    Its so naive of you to fail to understand that EVERY law in Pakistan has been misused. If I am wrong, then why not write about other laws that were misused?
    I wont fret myself. After all, I still remember a news publication about so called Dr. Aurangzeb Hafi and ET never pulled back the published news.Recommend

  • Siraj Ahsan
    Aug 4, 2011 - 5:17PM

    Why no such event in Baluchistan? Anybody looked into reasons?

    Recommend

  • Majid
    Aug 4, 2011 - 5:36PM

    @rusm:
    I think Eaman was being sarcastic or I sure hope he was.

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Aug 4, 2011 - 7:09PM

    Excellent article —- nice to see journalist generate some actual data for a change —- hope to see more.

    Recommend

  • AnisAqeel
    Aug 4, 2011 - 8:41PM

    It seems Balochistan’s Mullahs are not in the business of blasphemy market. These laws were created and inducted into the constitution illegally by an illegitimate criminal to safeguard his dictatorship in exchange for holy support to save from high treason. My Prophet (SAW) was not and cannot be insulted by anyone except by these mullahs who go against Hazoor’s (SAW) teachings just to run and cash in their business of hate and creating murderers and extremist haters in the name of Hazoor (SAW).
    These hateful illegally adopted laws must be abolished to create tolerance, worldly education and progress to save our beloved country.

    Recommend

  • Saad Mian
    Aug 5, 2011 - 4:35AM

    Every man, woman and child of Pakistani descent ! Put you’re head down in shame !

    Recommend

  • Murtaza
    Aug 5, 2011 - 4:57AM

    Blasphemy law is here to stay, INSHALLAH. Had this law not been here, people would have killed the accused on the streets. Law actually protects the accused and gives him an apportunity to a fair trial. As far as the matter of falsely implicating people and misusing the law is concerned, this happens with every law in pakistan. There is a problem with our enforcement agencies. Every second FIR you read is fabricated, according to the suitability of the complainant. We need a comprehensive reform of our criminal justice system, Police reforms in particular. Changing the law is not the solution.

    Recommend

  • Khalid
    Aug 5, 2011 - 6:58AM

    @AnisAqeel:
    This law is created to remain … Hatred is created to remain … only seculars and dis-believers are bound to perish. Long live ‘Blasphemy Law’ which has sent so many cursed souls to Hell

    Recommend

  • creative gen
    Aug 5, 2011 - 4:07PM

    @Khalid:
    kiddo…Even when capital punishments were announced for some, no one is put to death so far.
    Liberal extremism is on rise, i see.
    Down with your “khali” kham khayali.

    Recommend

  • Sad muslim
    Aug 5, 2011 - 11:06PM

    Anybody who kills a human being kills the whole humanity. All humans who are killed or harassed in the name of religion in this fanatic place called Pakistan, will hold General Zia responsible on the day of judgement.

    Recommend

  • Irtiza Sheikh
    Aug 5, 2011 - 11:41PM

    @Eeman:

    You may want to accept these facts. No one is trying defame Islams except us, Muslims, themselves..we are hyper sensitive, barbaric, and unable to progress forward

    Recommend

  • Shock Horror
    Aug 6, 2011 - 12:50AM

    @Eeman:
    No doubt you also believe that sun rises in the West!

    Recommend

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