A businessman and his wife were remanded in judicial custody on Saturday following an FIR accusing them of blasphemy.
Complainant Hafiz Ghulam Hasan, the prayer leader at Jasmia Masjid Chiragh Din, Hundal village, has accused Amjad alias Haji Toka and his wife Samreena in a complaint filed at the Saddar police station of blaspheming about the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
Hasan stated in the complaint that the couple allegedly visited the mosque at 6:30am and uttered disrespectful remarks for the Holy Prophet (pbuh). He said the two also cussed at him and broke the lock on his hujra when he stopped them from disrespecting the Prophet (pbuh).
Saddar police station house officer, Inspector Hameedullah, told The Express Tribune the suspects were sent to a prison on a judicial remand to avoid an untoward incident that could have occurred had they been held at the police station.
He said an investigation into the incident had revealed that the complainant and several other villagers had obtained loans from the suspects and defaulted on repayment. He said Hafiz Hasan had recently leased a motorcycle from Amjad’s business.
He said Amjad was earlier accused by the same prayer leader of reciting takbeer for prayers two minutes earlier than the appointed time.
He quoted the suspects as saying that they had visited the prayer leader to discuss his complaint about Amjad reciting the takbeer early.
The suspects said they had an argument with the prayer leader but denied having committed blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (pbuh). “Hasan accused us of blasphemy because we demanded that he return the motorcycle he had leased from us,” the suspects told the police.
The man was earlier accused of blasphemy in 2009 at Nekapura City police station. The FIR registered by a prayer leader in that village, Hafiz Shakeel, on September 14, 2009, initially contained Section 298-A (disrespectful remarks about the companions of the Holy Propeht (pbuh)), while Section 295-C (blasphemy about the Holy Prophet (pbuh)) was added later.
He was eventually released owing to lack of evidence to prosecute him.
A villager speaking on condition of anonymity said that a number of people in the two villages had leased goods from Amjad and owed him money.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2011.