Mysterious circumstances: Blasphemy accused dies in custody

Published: December 3, 2012

The 22-year-old was taken in protective custody after being accused by Nankana Sahib residents. DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

LAHORE: A 22-year-old youth, accused of burning a copy of the Holy Quran, died in police custody at Warburton police station on Sunday, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The youth, Nadeem, was detained without an FIR by the Nankana Sahib police seven days ago. Police say he was being kept in protective custody. He was later shifted to Warburton police station, 20km for Nankana Sahib.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Nankana Sahib district police officer (DPO) Ghulam Mubashar Maken said the youth fell severely ill while in custody at Warburton police station and subsequently died.

He said allegations against Nadeem had not been substantiated so far. He added that they were informed by a local committee of Ulema that there was no proof so far to suggest the youth had burned the Holy Quran copy. Since they had been waiting for the committee’s final decision, no case was registered against the youth, DPO Maken said.

Meanwhile, police have handed over Nadeem’s body to his heirs and initiated proceedings under section 174.

DPO Maken said Nadeem’s father Yousaf had told the police that his son was mentally unstable. He added that even after his son’s death, Yousaf was unwilling to take legal action.

Police officials also suggested that Nadeem was tortured by local resident when they allegedly discovered him burning a copy of the Holy Quran. They also suspect he may have been an addict.

Christian woman Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death in 2010 on blasphemy charges, also belongs to Nankana Sahib.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2012.

Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly termed Nadeem a ‘Christian’. The error is regretted.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • vasan
    Dec 3, 2012 - 12:12PM

    Nothing mysterious about it. Had the accused come out prison without any charges, it would have bee mysterious in Pakistan.

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  • Khalid Pathan
    Dec 3, 2012 - 12:26PM

    Another extra judicial killing, this time in police custody. Looks like there is just no protection for religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan.

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  • Something Clever
    Dec 3, 2012 - 12:29PM

    “DPO Maken said Nadeem’s father Yousaf had told the police that his son was mentally unstable. He added that even after his son’s death, Yousaf was unwilling to take legal action.”

    Now that’s cold. Whether they’d succeed or fail, I can’t imagine most parents could just shrug it off like that.

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  • Baby ka Husband
    Dec 3, 2012 - 12:39PM

    Like Hindus leaving Pakistan for India, Christians should leave for US and Europe and in return they should not allow immigration of Muslims from Pakistan. They can sweat it out in their own melting pot in Pakistan.

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  • R2D2
    Dec 3, 2012 - 12:44PM

    what a country founded by what a people for what a people….

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  • Jat
    Dec 3, 2012 - 1:26PM

    @R2D2: what a country founded by what a people for what a people….

    Just the right country, founded by just the right people, for just the right people…

    What a relief for us Indians !

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  • Naeem
    Dec 3, 2012 - 2:08PM

    His parrents are scared!! and they know that he can’t be bought back to life.All Pakistanis who support this man made blashphmey law are criminals. The world judges them accordingly and teats such Pakistanis as criminals.Recommend

  • Faisal Awan
    Dec 3, 2012 - 2:09PM

    Extra Judicial killing are condemnable, only courts can take decisions but when the courts go ineffective every one try to take law into their own hands, in which innocents are killed.
    BUT I COUNDN”T UNDERSTAND WHY EVERY BLASPHEMOUS IS MENTALLY RETARDED ?? our law of evidence and loop hopes in laws added with corruption, no criminal can be executed only poor are the victim and rich goes untouched.

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  • Naeem
    Dec 3, 2012 - 2:10PM

    @Khalid Pathan:
    The constitution of Pakistan makes it very difficult to protect the rights of the minorities. All decent minded Pakistanis must fight aginst such man made laws. Blashphemy law is nothing but garbage and allws murder of innocent people!

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  • emerald
    Dec 3, 2012 - 2:26PM

    there are no blasphemy, they are killing these innocents just because they are nonmuslims and non sunnis.

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  • Bashir
    Dec 3, 2012 - 2:28PM

    The murder case should be registered against police including the DPO for taking no action against SHO? Why was he kept in the lock up if there was no proof against the boy. Why should police look towards the ” ulemas ” in such cases. Father of the boy is afraid of the police that is why he does not want any legal action against the police.Recommend

  • HUM
    Dec 3, 2012 - 3:03PM

    “Since they had been waiting for the committee’s final decision, no case was registered against the youth, DPO Maken said”.
    Oh My God. No case was registered and still he was being detained. If we forget blasphemy laws for a few minutes, the unlawful holding of the person was gross violation of human rights. But then again this is Pakistani Police and law we are talking about where we let go the influential even after murders but hold the weak accountable based on hearsay.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 3, 2012 - 7:47PM

    The real crime is that nothing will be done to eliminate the outrageous Blasphemy laws nor pursue the police who likely murdered this youth.

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