A young man has accused a 25-year-old neighbour of blasphemy for allegedly burning a copy of the Holy Quran but neighbours have told the police that it did not happen.
On Saturday, Federal B Industrial Area police arrested S on charges of the burning. He lives in block 21 as does the person who filed the complaint, Ali, who is also in his mid-twenties. S had his first court hearing on Monday after which he was sent into custody for four days.
Ali claims that he saw S standing near a copy of the Holy Quran that was on fire. A mob soon gathered around the scene and someone called ‘15’, although the timing and sequence of events are disputed. When the police arrived, Ali stepped up as an eyewitness and said that he saw S standing near the fire. No witness had actually seen S set the holy book on fire.
S lives in a two-bedroom flat with his mother, grandfather and younger brother. His father has a job in Dubai. S’s mother told The Express Tribune that her son was innocent. At the time of the incident she had gone out, to visit relatives with her younger son. S was at home tending to his ill grandfather, who is suffering from mouth cancer. “When the electricity went, S stepped out and he walked straight into the mob of people and police surrounding the Holy Quran,” she said.
While talking to neighbours The Express Tribune learnt that the family has always been regarded as religious. “They have pictures of the Kaaba hanging in their house,” said one neighbour. S has completed his graduation and is gainfully employed as a supervisor in a private wood factory. “This is a conspiracy against S, we know him, and he is not the sort to indulge in black magic. We have been interacting with him for many years,” said a neighbour, on the condition of anonymity.
However, Federal B Industrial Area SHO Javaid Yusufzai is convinced otherwise. He said that when he reached the crime scene, many witnesses immediately pointed S out. Moreover, the SHO maintained that a strip of paper was found inside the holy book, mentioning the mouth cancer. The SHO also claimed that they found some objects near the book and when they showed them to “black magic experts” they learnt that they were used to “kill old women”. The police said the investigations are under way.
S’s mother told The Express Tribune that Ali’s mother came to see her and said that, “Ali has made a big mistake and he should not have done this.” S’s mother alleged that Ali had a criminal record. It was also learnt that the apartment complex is disputed, each flat has been sold to two people and this may be a conspiracy to force S’s family out of the house.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2011.