KARACHI: Clerics living in the vicinity where a teenage boy was accused of blasphemy last month are pressuring police to capture him or face a series of protests outside the station.
Mobina Town police station investigation officer Mohammad Baksh told The Express Tribune that law enforcers have been unable to trace the boy so far. No case has been registered against the protesters because they have been peaceful, added Baksh.
The boy, 16-year-old Ryan Stanten, has been accused of sending blasphemous text messages to friends and relatives in the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) staff colony near University Road on October 9. SSGC issued suspension letters for Ryan’s mother, Rubina Byran, who worked as a superintendent at the gas company’s store department. Fearing for their lives, Rubina fled from her house inside the staff colony along with Ryan and her physically challenged husband.
An enraged mob later broke into the family’s home, took out furniture and appliances, and then burnt them in broad daylight. Ryan was nominated in an FIR under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. “Nearly five small demonstrations have been organised outside the police station, where people demanded that the boy be arrested,” said Baksh.
Christian activist Zahid Farooq said that the boy and his family were safe, but were also terrified to come back to their house and face the charges. “They don’t want to leave the country, but they don’t seem to have another choice. They can’t come back as [Rubina] was fired even before the accusations were proved.”
Even if they come back, who would stop violent protesters from killing them, asked Farooq. He added that Ryan did not send the controversial text messages, and that his friends had his used his cell phone without his permission.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2012.
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