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ICC Note:

Last month, two blasphemy accusations were leveled against individuals from Pakistan’s persecuted Christian minority. Thankfully, neither of these incidents led to violence or any of the Christians being formally charged by the authorities. That is in thanks mostly to do the timely intervention of civil society groups in Pakistan. Blasphemy accusations, especially when leveled against religious minorities, can be one of the deadliest threats in Pakistan. Many times, a blasphemy accusation precipitates communal violence in which mobs of enraged Muslims attack entire communities to punish those the mob deems to have insulted Islam. 

11/04/2016 Pakistan (Christian Today) – Two blasphemy cases lodged against Pakistani Christians accused of desecrating Islamic scriptures have been dropped in the past week.

The cases related to alleged offences under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws and were registered in separate incidents, hundreds of miles apart. In both cases Christians were initially suspected of the crime of desecrating Muslim religious scriptures. However, the timely intervention of influential people, and sensible handling by the police, resulted in no arrests being made.

In the first reported incident, on 28 October, a partially burned and torn copy of the Koran was found in an abandoned house next to a Christian family’s home in Manawala, Sheikhupura.

Parvaiz Masih, 50, told World Watch Monitor that his wife Azra Bibi returned home from her duty as a cleaner around 1:30 pm and noticed that smoke was rising from the adjacent house. The house is owned by Anwar Khan and Irfan Khan, who use it only as a storeroom while their families live next door.

In the evening clerics and police were called to the scene. A case was registered at Manawala Police Station.

A week before, about 1000 kilometres away in Quetta, six-year-old Ayan Masih and his mother Shakeela Bibi, a nurse in the town’s Civil Hospital who lives in the hospital’s hostel, were suspected of desecrating pages of religious significance. The security forces picked them up but released them after local clerics got involved.

Balochistan Assembly member Barkat Masih told WWM “Shakeela’s husband works in Lahore. On 20 October, a few pages related to the Hajj were found desecrated outside Shakeela’s apartment, so slowly a mob had gathered.

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