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Without Evidence Police Arrest Christian on Blasphemy Charges

29 May, 2006

ICC Note: This article gives us an idea of how the law in Pakistan can be interpreted to fit the desires of the government thus causing Christians to be blamed for things they were not guilty of and imprisoned.

A Christian from Karachi is arrested for allegedly sending blasphemous cell phone messages to Muslims. Human rights activists demand that he not be remanded into police custody because too many people die in prison without trial.

Qamar David was arrested on May 24 on blasphemy charges. He is alleged to have sent blasphemous messages to some Muslims via cell phone as revenge for last month’s attacks against churches by Muslims.The police charged the Christian man under sections 295/A and C of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The police were asked to show the famous messages, but they refused saying only that it was blasphemous. But if he has to be charged, the incriminating text should be made public. Otherwise, David has been arrested without evidence.

For the APMA chairman, “once more, the law is being misused. The sections of the penal code fail to define blasphemy; anyone can interpret them in accordance with his mentality and understanding,”

So far, no one has been sentenced to death on the basis of blasphemy charges, but there have been several “deaths from natural causes” in prisons or murders by extremists that have gone uninvestigated.

In May 2004, Javed Anjum, 23, died from wounds he received during five days of torture at the hands of Muslim extremists who wanted to force him to convert to Islam.

Samuel Masih, 32, was wounded to the head by the police officer who was supposed to protect him. He later died in hospital after being in a coma for a few days.

In 1994, Salamat, Manzoor and Rehmat Masih, respectively 12-, 37- and 42-year-old, were burnt alive in front of the High Court in Lahore where they were on trial for blasphemy. The presiding judge, Arif Iqbal Bhatti, was later assassinated.

In 1992, Tahir Iqbal, a Christian convert from Islam, died in jail from poisoning.

Niamat Ahmer, a teacher, poet and writer, was killed by a group of Muslims who accused him writing blasphemous lines.

Also in 1992, Bantu Masih, 80, was stabbed and killed with police officers present.

Mukhtar Masih, 50, was tortured to death in police custody.

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