Christian family pleads innocence, begs pardon over blasphemy charges

Published: May 19, 2016
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Prayer leader wants Muslims to vouch for family. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Prayer leader wants Muslims to vouch for family. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: A Gujrat-based Christian family is on the verge of having blasphemy charges pressed against it after reportedly dining on a panaflex banner, The Express Tribune has learnt.

A local prayer leader and his followers have been pestering police to register an FIR against the family claiming that the name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was inscribed on the banner used by the Christians to dine on. Disputing the claim, police say the banner—which has been recovered from the family—only features pictures of local politicians.

Police have been striving to lay the matter to a rest by having the family placate the prayer leader and his followers by assuring them that they have not blasphemed. The prayer leader—on the other hand—has asked some Muslim residents to vouch on behalf of the family.

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Rights activist Khalid Shahzad told The Express Tribune that Christian Colony resident Shaukat Masih was eating with his family when a Muslim neighbour had come to visit them. He said she had later returned and asked for the banner to be handed over to her. Shahzad said Masih’s wife failed to comprehend the gravity of the situation and refused to handover the banner.

He said the woman had then approached her husband who had in turn informed the prayer leader. The rights activist said the prayer leader had managed to organise a protest demonstration after becoming cognisant of the matter. Shahzad said the timely intervention of some other Christians—who alerted police—prevented any untoward incident from taking place.

Lorry Adda SI Abdul Rehman told The Express Tribune that he was leading the police team that had visited the venue of the demonstration. He said the family had handed over the banner to police after they inquired about it. Rehman said the police team had taken the family and the prayer leader to the police station where they had showed the banner to the latter.

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On inspecting the banner, he said, the prayer leader had asserted that the family must have replaced the original panaflex with another one. Rehman said the banner in question only had the names of Haji Imran Zafar and Haji Nasir inscribed on it. He said the prayer leader had accused the family of blaspheming without even having seen the banner.

Garhi Ahmadabad Police Post In-charge Muhammad Arif, an SI, told The Express Tribune that the prayer leader had approached them to register an FIR against the family. He said police had been striving to amicably resolve the matter but would have no option but to register a complaint against the family if it failed to placate the prayer leader and his followers. Arif said the family had already begged pardon despite being “innocent.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • whatever
    May 19, 2016 - 10:46AM

    Pakistan has become graveyard for minorities. every now and then someone is in danger. India should give asylum to these prosecuted minorities of Pakistan and write to UN for safeguarding their rights in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Abdul Aleem
    May 19, 2016 - 11:05AM

    This is ridiculous. Job of police is to protect who is right. Its clear that the prayer leader is making the whole case up, without even seeing anything.

    As a society, we have turned into monsters and if we continue like this, the day is not far when everyone will be engulfed in this fire.Recommend

  • Toti calling
    May 19, 2016 - 11:09AM

    It hurts to read blasphemy laws targeting minorities. Is there no compassion and mercy in certain quarters? Has anybody heard of Martin Luther?Recommend

  • Farhan
    May 19, 2016 - 11:23AM

    Since when did illiterate prayer leaders get so much power?

    And meanwhile the parliament is arguing about which of them stole more money.Recommend

  • pakistani
    May 19, 2016 - 11:31AM

    oh my god. seriously. can’t believe this is happening. A small incident, reported by stupid lady to her stupid husband and then without verifying he went to the imam and he was too dumb to verify it first and then accused them of blasphemy.
    I think i have seen everything Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    May 19, 2016 - 11:59AM

    It would be interesting to see how the Pakistanis would treat the Chinese. Recommend

  • KK
    May 19, 2016 - 3:51PM

    Barbarian nation.Recommend

  • UMSadiq
    May 19, 2016 - 3:52PM

    Instead of placating the “prayer leader”, why can’t we arrest him for putting that poor family through mental torture.Recommend

  • Khalid Farooq
    May 19, 2016 - 5:23PM

    Food is clean, it’s no insult if you put it in a holy paper.Recommend

  • Rakhshana Malik
    May 20, 2016 - 12:02AM

    PLEASE ARREST THE PRAYER LEADER AND HIS DISGUSTING FOLLOWERS. HORRIBLE PEOPLE WHO ARE A BLACK MARK ON THE NAME OF ISLAM.Recommend

  • Insanity
    May 20, 2016 - 12:24AM

    Why does not Pakistan line up all the Christians who live in fear, squalor, and sub-human and just shoot them all by a firing brigade. That will be much less painful for Christians in Pakistan. Just a suggestion that Muslim leaders in Pakistan should be able to agree.Recommend

  • David G
    May 20, 2016 - 3:18AM

    Now do you people understand why we have Islamophobia?Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    May 20, 2016 - 5:45AM

    Hmmm, would wonder just how many Muslim neighbors of the Christian Family are lining up to murder them just to secure their place in Paradise?Recommend

  • wiserbeighbour
    May 20, 2016 - 6:28AM

    this paints the correct picture of Pakistan today.Perverted mullahs and stupid followersRecommend

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