Blasphemy charges used to usurp property

Published: June 20, 2011
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LAHORE: 

Serwar Shahkar, 72, was robbed of property worth Rs10 million in Faisalabad after being accused of blasphemy.

But even as police proved the charges false, he has not gotten his property back and those who accused him have imposed a “ban” on his entrance to the market.

According to Sarwar’s son Naved, his father has owned three shops at Madina Market in Bilal Ganj since 1999, which he had rented out at Rs6,000 a month each.

In January, they had a quarrel with the tenants who stole Shahkar’s equipment from his shops. Shahkar filed a complaint for robbery and a tenant Muhammad Afzal sent an application to the city police chief, alleging that he and 10 shopkeepers had met to resolve the matter when Shahkar said “something blasphemous”. Shahkar was summoned for investigation.

The case was referred to a core committee, comprising prominent religious leaders, said former SHO Civil Lines Mian Abid.

Committee member Mufti Muhammad Zia Madni said that no one listed as a witness provided enough evidence to establish the allegation. Even applicant Afzal did not bother to appear.

The committee found evidence that property and monetary disputes were the actual bone of contention. “The committee recommended that no action be taken. Shahkar was freed by the police,” Madni said.

FIRs were then registered against the tenants and six other people, including those who had accused him.

Shahkar said that while he was in police custody, one of the men involved, Muhammad Ishaq, prepared a fake sales deed according to which the property was sold for Rs2.2 million and Shahkar had received Rs1.7 million as ‘advance’ payment.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Feroz
    Jun 20, 2011 - 10:10AM

    The day the Government finds the courage to repeal the Blasphemy Laws, it will be the beginning of the end for the forces of militancy and fundamentalism. This is a law of criminal opportunism and not Religious egalitarianism.Recommend

  • Jun 20, 2011 - 12:16PM

    the effacement of blasphemy law from constitution , to which millions of muslims are emotionally convicted , is not so easy as it seems to be.salman taseer was assassinated for speaking against this law.next man gunned down was shahbaz bhatti.the elision requires a process comprising of at least 20 years.the militants and bigots recruited 34 years ago r capturing the top slots now in every institution , whether it is educational or related to defense.to beat lunacy , we must recapture the top slots first and it requires a complete process.nobody owns magic stick to obliterate fanaticism and zealotry in one first drift.Recommend

  • Jun 20, 2011 - 12:28PM

    You are right Feroz and you know it’s not so easy game!Recommend

  • Muhammad Junaid Akhter Dar
    Jun 20, 2011 - 12:42PM

    This is not related to that blasphemy law. Can’t your blind eye look that as no evidence he was released, the actual issue was dispute of property… when will your dirty minds get cleared … If now he is not getting his property that has nothing to do with that law.. its related to a common problem in Pakistan i.e. Jiski Lathi Uski BhensRecommend

  • What?!
    Jun 20, 2011 - 1:00PM

    This is what Salman Taseer was trying to say when in was shot in the name fo God. while, as muslims we severly condemn blasphemy; however most of the time this law is used to implicate the minorties for other – more personal – purposes . Minorites who were offered protection in Pakistan by Quaid e Azam – the founder of this country.

    The misuse of the law defies both – Shariah and the Quaid’s vision.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jun 20, 2011 - 2:33PM

    Some Law!!! Now we are seeing the real purpose and useage of this Law!!!
    Shame on the Govt, Judiciary and the People of Pakistan, that they have all turned blind eye to the abuse of this Law for Personal Gains and to Settle Old Scores with the Minorities!!!!Recommend

  • Asia Siddiqui
    Jun 20, 2011 - 4:34PM

    @Muhammad Junaid Akhter Dar:

    Muazziz Dar Sahib. You remember even someone as decent and exemplary as Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan was charged with not one but 3 blasphemy charges based on lies. It took him 10 years to clear himself out of courts when there was no proof from the beginning. He was 75 years old at the time. Life is not so simple when we seek to use terrible deeds to run our society

    When the burden of proof of innocence is on the accused rather than accuser, it becomes a terrible law.

    Also blasphemy is part of apostasy which is haram. So why is blasphemy against the profit worse than apostasy against God. And such lies as is the basis of these allegations, arent they apostasy itself.Recommend

  • Salman
    Jun 20, 2011 - 6:54PM

    These Blasphemy laws should be removed. people are misusing them in Pakistan alot. Recommend

  • Jun 29, 2011 - 6:52PM

    @Asia Siddiqui Sahiba! Thanks for making reference to a genius son of the soil, Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan. (Inna lillahey wa inna Alaihey rajeoon,– we all belong to God and had to return to Him, God Almighty.) Your heart-rendering narration reminds me of an other most painful event, which was actualiy ocassioned in the name of Islam, and under blasphemy laws. A small means’patwari, an honest one, belonging to a particular sect did not oblige an influential client, lando-onwner, for doing some wrong act in land-papers by going out of the way (yes! illegal way ). Eventually, the poor(right man) was taught a lesson of life-time and he and his son, both were implicated in a false, baseless blasphemy case and were put behind the bar, where they had to spend and suffer many years of humiliation and deprivation, for none of their fault,except being the prisoner of their conscience, which did not allow to do any wrong act as desired by the landed aristocrat. Alas! with each passing day, things are getting out of control and making the immoral practices in society to the point of no-return. Recommend

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