Persecution of Christians by using blasphemy law as a cover continues in Pakistan, particularly in the Punjab province where the case of Asia Bibi sentenced to death
made headline news in international media. In the fresh incident, a mentally ill Christian man has been accused of blasphemy in Sahiwal District in southeast Punjab.
The news of Babar Masih, the-25-year-old Christian, being accused of blasphemy was published in Compass Direct News
on May 06, 2011. The case of blasphemy was registered against Babar Masih on May 2nd 2011 in Chichawatni, Sahiwal, and a mob of Muslims led by local clerics gathered outside the accused’s house. Fearing an attack by the angry mob, Masih’s family took the accused to the police themselves.
But the furious mob even chased the police van in which Masih was being taken to the police station. As the police van sped away, the three families related to the accused also fled their houses out of the fear of violence potentially turning toward them. Subsequently, the Muslim clerics involved in accusing Babar Masih also pressured a number of people from the accused’s neighborhood to go and testify against the accused at the police station.
Compass Direct News tells that it is included in the FIR that Masih was addressing the stars in the sky while uttering the words that were later taken for blasphemy. According to Purpose News
, Masih was allegedly heard using abusive language while pasing by a moqque. However, the police report against Masih came from a Muslim farmer Zeeshan Arain who lives in the same neighborhood as Masih.
Reiterating its concern on the religious victimization of Christians in Pakistan, the British Pakistani Christian Association blogged
about the terror inflicted on Christians of Gujranwala (northeast Punjab). The blog pointed to the fact that a Muslim man named Irfan Qadri has admitted that it was him who burnt the copies of Koran and framed the Christians so as to be attacked by angry Muslims. Despite this confession and Qadri’s arrest by the police, those responsible for harassing Christians on account of Qadri’s crime had still not apologized for their behavior.