Gujranwala mob thrashes Christian teenager accusing him of burning Holy Quran

Published: August 20, 2017
PHOTO: Express/File

PHOTO: Express/File

FAISALABAD: A Christian teenager was brutally beaten up by a mob in Jhamkay town of Wazirabad tehsil , Gujranwala on Sunday over accusations of committing blasphemy.

AS*, 16, was rescued by police and then shifted to the Ali Pur Chattha police station where he was booked under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code – punishable with life imprisonment – on the complaint of a pesh imam, Qari Rana Arshad Ali.

Ali Pur Chattha SHO Malik Irfan said the cleric had told the police that AS took away a copy of the Holy Quran from the shrine of Sundhay Shah in Jhamkay and set it on fire.

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The complainant further claimed that AS, in the presence of a witness named Muhammad Nawaz, had confessed to his crime.

Sub-Inspector Pervez Iqbal, the investigation officer of the case, said two witnesses and the complainant had testified that the teenager had committed blasphemy.

He added that AS too had admitted that he had set the Holy Quran on fire, however he was unaware as to why he had committed the act.

The officer said as the suspect himself had confessed to his crime, there was no need for recording the statements of other witnesses.

“The police saved him from the enraged mob,” the sub-inspector said.

“His family should should be grateful to the police. The mob surrounded the police station but we pacified the protesters with the help of the notables of the area,” he added.

However, SM*, the father of the teenager, maintained that his son was falsely accused of committing blasphemy.

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“He [AS] collects papers and used bottles from garbage and sells them to support our family. He also collects empty bottles from the shrine, which is around two kilometres away from our home,” he said.

“Muhammad Nawaz alias Maju, the witness in the case, also collects papers and bottles from the shrine. He has a grudge against my son as he doesn’t want him to collect scrap at the shrine because it hurts his business,” he added.

SM said his son was framed under a conspiracy that started about four weeks ago.

“On July 18 or 19, Nawaz claimed that somebody had burnt a copy of the Holy Quran at the shrine and made an issue out of it.”

The father claimed that on August 12, AS went to a market to buy cigarettes when Nawaz caught him and started beating him up. He also gathered a crowd shouting that AS had stolen money from the tomb’s donation box. He then called up the cleric and told him that he had caught the person who had burnt the Holy Quran.

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“Qari Rana Arshid, who’s the pesh imam at a mosque, arrived there and without confirming anything, he too started beating up my son,” SM added.

“Someone from our community called up the police helpline 15. The police arrived there and took my son to the police station.”

The pesh imam, along with the mob, reached the Jhamkay police post where they barged inside the lock-up and started thrashing AS. The area’s police called up Ali Purr Chatta police station and asked them for help.

The Ali Purr Chatta police arrived there and took AS into custody.

The pesh imam, Qari Arshid Ali, told The Express Tribune that he was a landlord and also elected the councillor of the area.

“I haven’t seen him [AS] burning the Holy Quran, but I was told about this incident by Muhammad Nawaz,” he added.

“When the mob was beating up AS, I helped the police save him,” he maintained.

*Names withheld to protect privacy

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Ali
    Aug 20, 2017 - 4:41PM

    And we have the audacity to mock hindu mobs in India. What a shame!Recommend

  • Kfaisal
    Aug 20, 2017 - 5:04PM

    Release him and arrest the pesh imam.Recommend

  • W.M. Khan
    Aug 20, 2017 - 5:22PM

    Perfect scene to be added to the ‘Interfaith harmony’, one of Pakistan’s great attributes that are to be highlighted n the new rendition of the national anthem, GoP has advertised for the new audio and video recordings today. Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Aug 20, 2017 - 5:24PM

    Really, why would this person want to do something so obviously suicidal in the religiously charged environment of Pakistan, especially in some hick town ?? It defies logic. A proper investigation needs to be mounted because many of these so-called Qaris are less religious scholars and more rabble-rousers.Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    Aug 20, 2017 - 5:40PM

    settle personal scores by accusing blasphemy in the so called banana republic of PakistanRecommend

  • very sad
    Aug 20, 2017 - 5:52PM

    That’s what madrassas produce, mobs

    We need rule of law, not mob ruleRecommend

  • Striver
    Aug 20, 2017 - 6:51PM

    I don’t think there is a Christian in the country who would knowingly and/or deliberately commit blasphemy.
    We seriously need to look at the law and stop its misuse.
    The crowd needs lessons in Islam. What they are doing is not Islamic. Teach them about Haqooq-Allah and Aqooq-ul-Ebaad. Recommend

  • Faisal
    Aug 20, 2017 - 6:55PM

    I saw a news item where a Muslim in India was denied a house to rent because the owners are vegetarian. Let us look at the big picture always. Muslims are very innocent people.Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Aug 20, 2017 - 6:56PM

    False news. ET go and see how Muslims are treated in India along with Christians. This is news of India not PakistanRecommend

  • Anuj
    Aug 20, 2017 - 8:46PM

    @Shuaib You need medicines.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 20, 2017 - 9:16PM

    You idiot are more worried about India than innocents dying in this country bcz of mob violence and inhuman lawsRecommend

  • taimur
    Aug 20, 2017 - 9:17PM

    it will take 2 generations to rectify errors. is it worth it. pakistan ? i meanRecommend

  • Weapon
    Aug 20, 2017 - 9:47PM

    Yet another gift of Zia ul Haq. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 20, 2017 - 11:56PM

    you sound like a master debatorRecommend

  • Humayun Adnan
    Aug 21, 2017 - 11:23AM

    Well , this is not fair at all – did these guys have any proof ? and Islam teaches us to be tolerant but we on the other are the oppostie~Recommend

  • Sid
    Aug 21, 2017 - 3:02PM

    @Haji Atiya:
    Its a fake charge on a poor guyRecommend

  • Arshad
    Aug 22, 2017 - 12:17AM

    So many IDIOTS in one country!!!Recommend

  • Ghazi Gul
    Aug 22, 2017 - 1:53AM

    Innocent simple people are often used by the Church to create social unrest.Recommend

  • AD
    Aug 22, 2017 - 9:03AM

    Is this the Pakistan Mr. Jinnah envisioned?Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Aug 22, 2017 - 10:31PM

    @Ghazi Gul:
    Please give a list of incidents where “innocent people are used by the church to create social unrest” as you claim!
    Otherwise we may conclude you are just making up these charges!Recommend

  • Zia Mohiuddin
    Aug 23, 2017 - 1:29AM

    That pesh imam must be a drug lord and he asked his customers, the druggies at shrine to beat the boy because he may unwillingly mitigate the evidence. A little more research is needed in reporting these incidents.Recommend

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