ISLAMABAD: The family members of missing activists have strongly refuted blasphemy allegations against the latter.
Mescha Saeed – wife of social media activist Waqas Ahmed Goraya, Faraz Haider – brother of poet and playwright Salman Haider, and Jibran Nasir held a joint presser in Islamabad on Wednesday to denounce online "propaganda" against the missing bloggers.
“We are Muslims and have a firm belief on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” Mescha told reporters. “Waqas has been a well-read person and as far as I know him he can never be involved in any blasphemous act or writing he is being attributed to."
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Various pages on Facebook and profiles on Twitter have resorted to accusations against the missing activists, alleging that they had committed blasphemy and were disseminating atheist ideas in the country.
Faraz said his brother Salman, whom he had been close to for 30 years, could not even think of committing blasphemy against the prophet.
“People posting the propaganda on social media are not only harming the missing persons but also causing serious concerns to their families,” Faraz said. “This can lead us to dangerous circumstances. We appeal to the authorities concerned to safely recover our loved ones."
Haider Shah, of the Rationalist Society of Pakistan, said the blasphemy allegations endangered the activists. Even if they were freed without charge, they could be targeted by extremists who believe violence is justified to defend Islam, he added. "These people will be running from these allegations for the rest of their lives," Shah said.
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Varsity professor and activist Salman went missing from the capital city on January 7 followed by disappearances of Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmad Raza Naseer, and Samar Abbas from different cities of Punjab.
A group called Civil Society of Pakistan filed a police complaint over the weekend against the missing men, demanding that they be charged with insulting the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Tariq Asad, chairman of Civil Society of Pakistan, said the organisation filed its police complaint in outrage after reading about the case.
"Every Pakistani has awareness of this issue and many have asked us to take this up ... Whoever does not love the Prophet (PBUH), more than his own family is not a true Muslim," Asad said.
Police officer Khalid Awan, based in Islamabad where the complaint was lodged, said it was under legal review, but so far formal criminal charges had not been brought.