Blasphemy accusation: Hundreds of Christians in Lahore forced to flee

Published: March 9, 2013
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Protesters claimed that they would not let the families return to their homes until the accused was arrested. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Protesters claimed that they would not let the families return to their homes until the accused was arrested. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

LAHORE: 

A mob of almost 3,000 people, forced a Christian community to flee for their lives on Friday, leaving behind their houses and possessions.

This occurred in the Badami Bagh area, when one of the Christians was accused of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

The charged group gathered around Joseph Colony on Noor Road, led by Shafiq Ahmed, who was in search of the accused Savan, alias Bubby. The mob attacked Savan’s house, partially burnt it and pelted it with stones. Other houses in the locality – home to about 150 Christian families – were also attacked.  Many residents, including women and children, hastily fled to save themselves.

Savan could not be found. However, his father was caught and badly beaten. The vehicle of a pastor, who reached the area to inquire about the incident, was also damaged.

The episode began at 1 pm in the afternoon and did not conclude till the evening, when a large number of police personnel finally reached the spot and averted further damage.

The police placated the mob by registering an FIR under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (death sentence) against Savan and ensuring that he would be given into their custody to decide his fate. They also took Chaman Masih into custody.

Despite all this, the protesters continued to claim that they would not let the families return until Savan’s arrest.

Shahid Imran, complainant in the FIR, told The Express Tribune that Savan would utter blasphemous remarks against the Holy Prophet (pbuh) from time to time. When it happened again on Thursday, he told his friend Shafiq, who took out a knife and went straight to Savan’s house. This visit bore no fruit. Then, on Friday, he incited other men to join him in punishing Savan.

According to Imran, the situation went out of control when people reached the spot after offering prayers under Qari Saifullah. Countless people had joined the mob, chanting slogans and throwing stones at the houses.

Qari Saifullah said that if they find Savan, they must cut him into pieces.

Human Liberation Commission of Pakistan Chairman Aslam Parvaiz Sahotra visited the site and told The Express Tribune that the police registered the FIR  after bowing to the pressure of the mob. However, the police did save children and women.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Mar 9, 2013 - 10:10AM

    Pak’s minorities are clearly not safe when a section of the conservative majority that is ideologically charged can easily assemble in the thousands and go into a rabid frenzy to perform pogroms.

    Govt and law enforcement needs to act and society needs to change.

    Recommend

  • NO
    Mar 9, 2013 - 12:51PM

    @bigsaf: NO ONE is safe in Karachi.

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  • asd
    Mar 9, 2013 - 12:55PM

    Friday Blues for christians.

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  • Yusuf
    Mar 9, 2013 - 12:55PM

    Must be a land mafia story…in Pakistan it usually is..

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  • choptocut
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:00PM

    No one in Pak is safe from sadistic mullahs

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  • neil
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:09PM

    wake up my pakistani brothers….wake up before it is too late, from a very concerned – Indian…..(not trying to interfere, but this is just getting ridiculous, no one from the govt has visited abbas town yet)….no resignations?…r u kidding me? Rehman Malik shoiuld be jailed for incompetance….

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  • Pakistani
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:14PM

    Constitutional acts are the main reasons of such incidents. Minorities are totally unsafe in Pakistan. Changes in law is necessary.

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  • MSH
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:27PM

    Where are you Mr. Chief Minister? Are these people not under our domain? Haw about giving them and their property some protection. Or are you too busy placating the LeJ and Let troglodytes.

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  • Mj
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:27PM

    We have the gall to protest banning of minarets in a European country while our own minorities are getting mercilessly butchered.

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  • MSH
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:27PM

    Where are you Mr. Chief Minister? Are these people not under your domain? How about giving them and their property some protection. Or are you too busy placating the LeJ and Let troglodytes.

    Recommend

  • No
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:31PM

    @bigsaf: NO ONE is safe in Karachi!!

    Recommend

  • Umer
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:36PM

    Police actually agreed to hand over the accused to the mob for mob justice. Amazing.
    With such blatant lawlessness in the middle of Lahore, there should be action against miscreants in Lahore before anywhere else.

    Recommend

  • rational
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:58PM

    The person who accused the christian boy for blasphemy should be hanged.

    This is where we need capital punishment, against these sort of people who promote violence and bloodshed.

    Recommend

  • Peace
    Mar 9, 2013 - 2:06PM

    The people need to be desensitized by low doses of blasphemy until a full immune response is developed against such behavior. No body deserves to die regardless of what they said about some historical figure. Words don’t kill try and remember that. And your historical figure isn’t harmed by words. I can’t imagine taking a knife and wanting to kill someone because of what they said.

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  • Jim
    Mar 9, 2013 - 2:22PM

    The whole problem with Abrahamic religion is because of the fact that the followers of their religion are made to believe that only their religious ideas are correct while ideas of all others are false. This make it impossible to have mutual respect for each others religion.

    Recommend

  • faheema
    Mar 9, 2013 - 2:43PM

    Let’s hope and look for the days when our society will be as much charged against Dacoits, killers, mafia bosses both drugs and land, terrorists, and other miscreants at large. It is easy to target marginalized Christian community as Ahmadis even Shias as they are no immediate threat to so-called upholders of Muslim faiths unlike above mentioned thugs.

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  • Khan
    Mar 9, 2013 - 2:48PM

    To me as a muslim, i feel the mob is the one who should be charged for blasphemy. Complete Jahils.

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  • Mj
    Mar 9, 2013 - 3:38PM

    @Khan:
    “To me as a muslim, i feel the mob is the one who should be charged for blasphemy. Complete Jahils.”

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. Charge them with incitement to murder, and reckless destruction of property or other applicable laws.

    Recommend

  • Baji Jee
    Mar 9, 2013 - 4:17PM

    All Pakistanis should help these displaced families…please , please…this country is going towards destruction…stop listening to milli naghmas and get out of your house to help mend this country

    Recommend

  • ahmed41
    Mar 9, 2013 - 4:55PM

    How can this be prevented from happening ,again ?

    Let’s put a working mechanisim in place before there is a repeat of such mob frenzy.

    Why do such things happen in a theoretically peacefull religious , traditional society ?

    Recommend

  • jugnoo
    Mar 9, 2013 - 5:20PM

    @Jim:
    summed up nicely!

    Recommend

  • Zuloo
    Mar 9, 2013 - 6:36PM

    This matter needs to be looked into some non Muslims say things to hurt muslim feelings which is not acceptable but also at the same time there is a law in this country so the matter should be handled by the court of law and by police. people who take things in their own hand they wrong what ever their justification is.Law of the land should prevail in any situation. No one shoots or kills or beats any political leader. But a common man is put to the wall in the name of justice.

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  • Mar 9, 2013 - 9:16PM

    Please join our community and condemn that recently happened in Lahore, Pakistan.

    This is not Islam’s teachings to attack innocent minority’s home, children and women.

    We condemn This!

    Best Regards,
    wwww.QuranBelievers.com Team

    Recommend

  • Avtar
    Mar 9, 2013 - 11:39PM

    The genocide continues…..Rarely has been anyone punished. Expect typical responses: incident to be investigated and culprits bring to justice. I shudder to imagine what a true Islamic repûblic would look like!

    Recommend

  • jugnoo
    Mar 10, 2013 - 6:46AM

    @Avtar:
    It will look more or less like afghanistan under talban!

    Recommend

  • Musthaq Ahmed
    Mar 10, 2013 - 9:20PM

    @Khan:
    O my goodness! Another supporter of the idea by round about way !

    Recommend

  • zubeida Khalid
    Mar 11, 2013 - 12:32AM

    When I see many if the comments here in support of the minorities and vulnerable communities of Pakistan, comments based on rationality and peace, comments against vigilante and anarchy, comments expressing concern of Pakistan and the future, I can not help but feel hopeful. I sincerely hope such minds will grow in numbers. Fighting illiteracy is the key priority because the starved, the poor, the illiterate are more easily swayed into such completely inexcusable behaviour. Islam does not ask people to draw out knives and go hunting for the percieved “culprit” based on hearsay or even actual evidence. These people are not more lovers of Islam or the Messenge. Blasphemy is just a convenient way to hunt down those who are different, abuse, beat and kill them. That’s why it needs to be repealed. Otherwise this genocide like mob mentality will never cease. And it has to for all our sakes. Not just the Christians.

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  • SAS
    Mar 11, 2013 - 7:19PM

    This incident is a complete disgrace for Pakistan. In my opinion, the Pakistani authorities should protect the homes, churches and property of Christians with troops, if necessary and the mobs who carry out these kinds of instances should be punished to the full extent of the law.

    First the Shiites were under attack, now Christians. Pakistanis should be encouraged to take to the streets to call for communal harmony, if necessary.

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  • Mar 11, 2013 - 10:07PM

    @Pakistani
    value ur citizens:

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