Ahl-e-Hadis man held over blasphemy case

Published: October 13, 2010

Police detain mosque official without registering arrest; violence threatened.

LAHORE: Batapur police have been illegally detaining the secretary general of an Ahl-e-Hadis (AH) mosque committee since Saturday, after Ahl-e-Sunnat (AS) residents of this border village threatened violence if he were not arrested for allegedly burning pages of the Holy Quran, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Heavy protests erupted in Batapur on October 3 after residents found pages of the Holy Quran in a burning pile of garbage near the local AS mosque. The police then registered an FIR against unnamed accused under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with blasphemy.

The mostly AS residents of Batapur held protests and threatened to attack the AH mosque and houses in the village. On Saturday, police took 49-year-old Shahid Hussain Butt, the secretary general of Jamia Mosque, Ahl-e-Hadis, Jallo Mor, his business partner Sheikh Shahid and their employee Nawazish into custody. But their names have not been included in the record of arrests, they have not been charged with anything nor produced before a court.

Butt’s family said he was innocent and had been framed by men who owed him money. Ahl-e-Sunnat members are keeping up pressure on the police, threatening to kill AH followers and burn their houses if Butt is not nominated in the blasphemy FIR.

A heavy police contingent guarded the AH mosque all night on Sunday after it received reports that AS people intended to attack the house of worship. There were no attacks overnight, but AS clerics printed pamphlets and made announcements via loudspeaker calling a meeting at the Jamia Masjid Yadgar Shuhada, Jallo Mor on Monday.

More than a hundred people participated in the meeting, including Inspector Aftab Hashmi, the investigator of the case. In his presence, AS speakers urged the participants to prepare for revenge. They warned that if the police did not nominate the arrested men in the FIR, they would kill the wives and children and burn the houses of AH followers.

The inspector asked the participants not to take any step for two days, as their demands would be met by Thursday. The meeting was chaired by Maulana Sayed Yousaf Shah, president of the Central Milad Council, Jallo Mor.

A 10-member committee was set up to keep up pressure on the police during the investigation process. Among the members of the committee are a journalist, a lawyer and a doctor. Haji Muhammad Yasin, a member of the committee, told The Express Tribune that AS people feared that the police would favour Butt. He said only 20 percent of Batapur residents were AH followers, and the AS would “burn their houses and kill their families for the sake of Islam if the police do not meet our demands”.

Inspector Hashmi, who is investigating the case, denied that Butt had been arrested. He said that the police were investigating the matter and trying to find “the real culprits”.

Another official at the police station, on condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that Butt would likely be nominated in the blasphemy FIR while Sheikh Shahid and Nawazish would be released in exchange for agreeing to testify (act as approvers) against Butt.

Yasin said he, too, had heard that the police would release Shahid and Nawazish. He said they were probably innocent, but objected to their release because he suspected that the two would change their testimony to favour Butt if the case went to court.

Rai Sarfaraz Khan, a headmaster at a government high school and vice president of the AH mosque committee, said Butt prayed five times a day and was the most active member of the AH mosque committee.

Yasin said though Butt was known to be very religious, he could think of three reasons that could have made him commit blasphemy. “He could have tried to burn the Holy Quran to learn black magic. Secondly, maybe he tried to create a rift within the AS by burning it near our mosque. Or he could have an affiliation with some foreign agency and be following their agenda to defame Muslims in their own country.”

He said he had no personal grudge against the accused.

Abid Hassan Butt, Shahid Butt’s older brother, told The Express Tribune that Yasin and Dr Malik Iftikhar, both members of the AS committee announced at Monday’s meeting, framed his brother. He said that Butt had recently demanded rent for a shop at the mosque where Iftikhar had set up a clinic. He had not paid rent for three years, said Abid Butt.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • IZ
    Oct 13, 2010 - 2:09PM

    Or he could have an affiliation with some foreign agency and be following their agenda to defame Muslims in their own country.

    Nothing defames Muslims more than this ridiculous law that is repeatedly misused for nefarious purposes. If we want a fair, just and morally upright society we must scrap the blasphemy law as soon as possible.Recommend

  • Khalid Javed Butt
    Oct 13, 2010 - 2:22PM

    This implicitely shows the helplessness of Police to protect the life and honor of poor citizens. Recommend

  • Hassan
    Oct 13, 2010 - 5:47PM

    There was a big noise recently when that guy in the USA threatend to burn the holy book on 9\11 anniversary, Yet a muslim man was caught burning the holy book in the UK ( coincidentally he was also ahle hadees he claimed that he allways burned old copies of the Quran, Apparently Hazrat Uthman ( ra ) also burned the holy book according to history ( so that he could compile 1 book ). Sura munafiqoon is for muslims and not non belivers. BE AWARERecommend

  • Humanity
    Oct 13, 2010 - 9:42PM

    “The sublime faith called Islam will live even if our leaders are not there to enforce it. It lives in the individual, in his soul and outlook, in all his relations with God and men, from the cradle to the grave, and our politicians should understand that if Divine commands cannot make or keep a man a Musalman, their statutes will not.” (Munir-Kayani Report 1953).

    In 1,400 years , scholars and ulema have failed to agree on the definition of a Muslim. And yet the Paksitani nation had the audacity to legally and constitutionally de-muslimize a group of people. With the creation of Pakistan, the mullah who had opposed the idea of Pakistan, cracked its foundation by mixing state with religion for his worldly glory. Well, the crack has now become an unbridgeable schism, with each sect having become an arch enemy of the other. Well done, the saviors of Islam!

    History shows that mixing state with religion has always been an utter disaster. State is for worldly affairs and religion is for the individual’s world and the hereafter. The matters of state end in this world and its performance is judged on this stage in the present moment. By trying to mix the world with the hereafter, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has turned itself into a most un-islamic incarnation. The nation has transformed into a confused barbaric bunch of thugs who kill, plunder, and loot the worldly gains in the name of God, His messengers, and His scripture. Islam has been killed in spirit and turned into a set of zombie rituals. How wrong is the mullah and how wrong are the mullah supporters. Evil does find the means to work its way back to where it started. Doesn’t it?

    The wicked mullah and ambitious seeking worldly glory exploit the masses through their emotional attachment with religion. They maintain their strangle hold on the gullible muslims by equating secularism with la-deeniyat. The leaders must keep the masses uneducated, hungry, and poor to hoard and grow their ill gotten riches. They live like the pharoah, while on the pulpit they instantly become the most ardent saviors of Islam. These people are perhaps the subject matter of Surah Munafequn.

    Secularism means to remove the dirty politics and the infested poli-tics from the state affairs. It does not take away the religion from an individual. Instead, it ensure that the citizens can practice their religion with freedom and without fear, as long as they don’t harm the fellow citizens. A sincere muslim should not see any problem with this form of governance.

    The Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 address articulates his vision of ‘narziah-e-Pakistan’. Millions of people died for the vision, which is worth the blood shed. The mullah and the mammon loving leaders have fooled the people by re-packaging nazriah-e-Pakistan into a warped nightmare of poli-tics infested Islamic land of barbaric mercenaries and gate keepers of the doors of heaven. To get out of the fool’s paradise, burn the current constitution which has turned Islam into a free get out of jail card legalizing discrimination, injustice, and oppression. For the salvation of Pakistan, re-write the constitution based on the principles articulated in Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 address.

    The country is imploding from every direction. There is not much time left for the people to wake up from the nightmare and take action. Correct the wrong done by the disingenuous religious and political leaders. The bold U-turn taken by Bangladesh to set its course towards secular governance is a worthy example to follow. Evolve into an honorable nation where citizens unite for human dignity and live with integrity. Otherwise, do nothing. Let the AS, AH, Deobandi, Salafi, Hanafi, Wahibi, Shia, police, lawyers, judiciary, politicians, students and every body in between wipe each other out, each becoming a martyr in the name of Islam. The nation of so-called martyrs will soon be forgotten as arrogant fools who allowed the weapon of mass destruction called political Islam to destroy them.

    ”In order to be a Muslim by conviction and free choice, which is the only way one can be a Muslim, I need a secular state.” Abdullahi An NaimRecommend

  • Foqia Badr
    Oct 14, 2010 - 12:25AM

    This is the maulanas Islam in action. Today its Batapur, tomorrow God forbid it may be whole of Punjab and then Pakistan.Recommend

  • Oct 15, 2010 - 9:05AM

    Those politicians who are supporting these mullahs and religious parties will suffer eventually. Look at Bhutto example who wanted to appease mullahs for his political gains but eventually were betrayed by these mullahs. Pakistan should be a secular state as per Jinnah vision. These mullahs were against the creation of pakistan. Ban these religious political parties and government should control mosques to control hate mongering.Recommend

  • Mubarik
    Oct 16, 2010 - 3:42AM

    My advice to Pakistani muslims, please don’t keep a copy of Holy Quran at home. You can keep illegal gun and you will survive but having a copy of Holy Quran can land you in trouble. Recommend

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