Scores of Pakistanis have been harassed and implicated in false cases instituted by misusing the country’s blasphemy laws. Additionally, allegations of blasphemy have led to assassinations, extrajudicial killings and threats to life and property.
The list below provides details of people accused and sentenced under the blasphemy laws, harassment of minorities as well as extra-judicial killings of blasphemy accused and people connected with the issue from January – July 2011.
|Kot Addu ||January 8 – Mohammad Amjad, believed to be mentally challenged, is accused of committing blasphemy along with his father and a relative. The case was filed at the request of local cleric Mohammad Sajid. (Section 295-B, PPC Section 109)|
|Bhakkar ||January 17 - Shahnawaz filed an FIR against Muhammad Javed of Dullewala. He claimed that he had received text messages from an unknown cell number that contained blasphemous remarks.|
|Karachi ||January 28 - Syed Samiullah, 17, was accused of blasphemy for allegedly writing blasphemous remarks in his exam answer-sheets. (Section 295-C)|
|Mansehra||January 31 – Shahnawaz and another man were accused of blasphemy for allegedly stealing copies of the Quran and burying them in a courtyard.|
|Okara ||February 6 - Shamsia Colony resident Shafique was arrested for committing blasphemy, since he had allegedly tied a shoe to a flag bearing a religious symbol. (Section 295-A)|
|Rawalpindi||According to Pakistan Today, two Muslim sects clashed in Rawalpindi and were charged under the blasphemy and anti-terrorism laws.|
|Multan||Noor Khan was accused of blasphemy by his brother. Khan’s brother was reportedly raising slogans of ‘Sada-i-Madina,’ when Khan and a man called Maulvi Idrees accusing him of uttering “blasphemous” words about sacred personalities.|
|Bhakkar||February 20 –School teacher Tanveer Ahmed was beaten up by a mob that was incited by announcements on mosques’ loudspeakers and text messages. A student had complained that Ahmed had disrespected images of holy places and the footprint of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).|
|Faisalabad ||February 16 – According to the Pakistan Christian Post, Agnes Nuggo was charged of blasphemy by a group of Muslims who failed to acquire a plot of land from her. (Section 295-A)|
|Karachi ||February 26 - Idrees Khan was arrested by the Landhi police after his neighbours handed him over for allegedly setting leaves of the holy book on fire. According to his father, a day before the incident, he and Idrees visited a pesh imam of a mosque, who asked them to bury the leaves of the Quran after setting them on fire.|
|Gilgit ||March 26 - Abdur Rauf lodged a complaint with the police that a man named Yaqoob had allegedly used abusive language against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). March 27 – Yaqoob’s father shows documents to the police to prove his son is mentally ill. (Sections 295, 296, 298, 500, 506)|
|Lahore ||March 30 - Shadbagh resident Qasim lodged an FIR against Irfan Rafique. Qasim said that he had received a text message which contained derogatory language about Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). He said that he and three others discovered that Rafique used the number from which the text message was sent. (Section 295-C)|
|Lahore ||April 8 – Case filed against Kasur resident Akhtar Hussain for tearing a Bible outside St Joseph’s Church in retaliation for American pastor Terry Jones burning copies of the Quran. (Section 295-A)|
|Gujranwala ||April 15 – Gujranwala police took two Christian men into protective custody after people tried to spark violence by accusing them of desecrating the Quran and committing blasphemy against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) (Sections 295-B, 295-C)|
|Mardan ||April 19 – Ebadullah was accused by his father of desecrating the Quran. (Section 295-B)|
|Sargodha ||May 26 – Basharat arrested on charges of allegedly sending text messages that contained blasphemous content about the companions of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). (Sections 295-A, 298-A)|
|Karachi||July 2 - 25-year-old Muslim arrested, accused of burning the Holy Quran|
|Karachi ||July 29 – Printing press owner and colleague arrested after being accused of printing a book with allegedly blasphemous material. (Section 295-A)|
DEATHS ASSOCIATED WITH THE BLASPHEMY LAW
|Islamabad||January 4 – Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer assassinated by his bodyguard Malik Mumtaz Qadri|
|Islamabad||March 2 – Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti assassinated. The Punjab Taliban and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility.|
|Rawalpindi||March 5 - Mohammad Imran, who was released along with Sajid Mehmood on February 13, 2010, was sitting at a shop near a bus stand in Danda village when three masked gunmen killed him.|
|Karachi ||March 15 – Qamar David, who was serving a life sentence in two blasphemy cases, dies in Central Jail. Jail officials say he died of a heart attack, but his lawyer said he had been in good health. His autopsy report was not made public. (Sections 295-A, 295-C)|
|Lahore||July 17 – Shaukat Ali, who was serving a sentence after being convicted on blasphemy charges, dies at Services Hospital. Jail officials say he died of natural causes, but his family said they were unaware he was unwell.|
|Lahore||January 15 - Two Christian women beaten by an angry mob over frivolous blasphemy allegations|
|Karachi||January 18 - Amar Ali and Nazia Amar, who were accused of desecrating the Holy Quran and Hadith in Sialkot, protested at the press club and denied the allegations|
|Islamabad||January 31 –Senator Humayun Mandokhel discusses activist Marvi Sirmed in the Senate, who had invited him to Salmaan Taseer’s chehlum and used the word ‘shaheed’ (martyr) to refer to him in a text message, which he disagreed to. Mandokhel asked to file a privilege motion against Sirmed since their exchange had been reported in the press. According to Sirmed, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Senator Ibrahim also reacted to the word martyr similarly. (Personal interview)|
|Lahore, Karachi||February 25 – Banners appear in cities accusing Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s wife Tehmina Durrani of committing blasphemy in her 1998 bookBlasphemy.|
|Lahore||April 6 – An attempt by Christian workers to file the FIR of a blasphemy case against the MD of the Solid Waste Management department dismissed by an additional district and sessions judge.|
|Gujranwala||April 30 - Hundreds of people attacked a Christian seminary, a church and houses of Christians after police release two Christians who had been accused of blasphemy from protective custody.|
|Sialkot||May – Bookseller Gulzar Masih accused of committing blasphemy after former partner’s son says his workers burned pages of the Holy Quran. The dispute is solved by market elders|
|Lahore||May 18 – Clerics attacked blasphemy accused Irfan Rafique’s lawyer at sessions court and take an undertaking from him that he would not appear before the court to defend Rafique.|
|Kahna||May 29 – Muhammad Shoaib and three men entered a church in Lakhoki village and desecrated the Bible.|
|Lahore||May 30 – Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Samiul Haq) called for the Bible to be banned on account of allegedly containing blasphemous material|
|Lahore||July 5 – PPP Lahore president Samina Khalid Ghurki accused of committing blasphemy by clerics|
|Lahore||July 12 – 30 Barelvi clerics issued a fatwa condemning a newspaper advertisement of the Population Welfare Department which they said insulted the beard. On July 13, Tahafuz Namoos-e-Rasalat nominates the editors, publishers and printers of Jang, Nawa-e-Waqt and Daily Express in an application stating they committed blasphemy by publishing the advertisement. It asks that they be tried along with the other offenders under Section 295-A, while the chief minister and chief secretary should be prosecuted under section 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code.|
|Lahore||July 22 – Barelvi clerics protest against the police for not filing an FIR against a man accused of blasphemy.|
|Bahawalpur ||January 6 - Man sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court for allegedly burning a copy of the Quran. (Section 295-B)|
|Daira Din Panah ||January 11 – Mosque imam Mohammad Shafi and his son Mohammad Aslam jailed for life on blasphemy charges. (Sections 295-C, 295-A)|
|Bahawalpur ||February 3 – A sessions court handed down the death sentence and a Rs0.2 million fine to a man in Jalalpur Peerwala for committing blasphemy. (Sections 295-C, 298-A)|
|Lahore ||February 10 - The Lahore High Court granted bail to a man accused of blasphemy who had been in jail for four months. (Section 295-B)|
|Rawalpindi||June 2 – An additional district and sessions judge cleared Hector Haleem, Basharat Masih and Robin Masih of blasphemy charges. The case was registered last March. The court ordered criminal action against the investigation officer and the complainant after they could not prove charges against the accused.|
• The blasphemy law in Pakistan’s Penal Code can be read here.
• To view the cases on Google Maps click here.
• To download an excel sheet containing the above, click here.
Sources: The Express Tribune, Dawn, The News, Daily Times, Pakistan Today, Pakistan Christian Post
Disclaimer: This timeline and corresponding data is based on published news reports. Several of these cases have been verified independently; however The Express Tribune has not verified the status of each case. Please alert us of any additional cases by leaving a comment/link below.