Shahzad Masih, a Christian sweeper from Dinga city, was arrested last Friday after he was accused of committing blasphemy against Islam. Two Muslim men claim they heard Masih utter blasphemous remarks against Islam meant to hurt the sentiments of local Muslims and disturb the peace. Blasphemy against Islam is criminalized in Pakistan and can lead to life imprisonment or execution. Many human rights monitors say the blasphemy laws are widely abused with false accusations often leveled against individuals to settle scores or incite religious hatred. Is the accusation against Masih just another false accusation leveled against a Christian?
07/17/2017 Pakistan (The Express Tribune) – Police in Gujrat have arrested a Christian man over charges of committing blasphemy – an allegation made by a member of religio-political party Tehreek-e-Tuhafaz Islam Pakistan (TTIP).
Dinga police station SHO Shahbaz Hinjra told The Express Tribune on Friday that the accused, Shahzad Masih, had been taken into custody and an investigation was under way.
Masih works as a sweeper at the Shamim Riaz Polyclinic Hospital in Dinga city.
According to the FIR registered against Masih, the complainant, Nadeem Ahmad, was at his shop, Saddar Electric Works, on the evening of July 13 when a man named Ishtiaq Jalali came to him and told him that Masih had uttered blasphemous words during a conversation with him.
The FIR further states that the two men called Masih from his home and took him to Popular Mobile Shop where he said the same words again, which were heard this time by Ahmad, Jalali, Abdul Rehman and other people present there.
The complainant further said Masih’s offensive words were not only meant to hurt the sentiments of the locals but also to disrupt peace in the area.
When contacted, Ahmad told The Express Tribune that he was the president of the TTIP Dinga city chapter, while Jalali was a member of their organization and a dispenser at the same hospital where Masih worked.