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ICC Note: After two years of imprisonment, a Pakistani Christian man’s blasphemy charges were dropped. He has  endured not only unjust incarceration but also brutal beatings and harassment due to these allegations. Now free of these charges, he has accepted a full time position working for the BPCA (British Pakistani Christian Association).

05/25/2018 Pakistan (Pakistan Christian Post) – Lahore: May 24, 2018. (PCP) A man who was convicted for alleged blasphemous remarks on Facebook two years ago, has been set free and is now working full time with the BPCA.

Usman Liaquat (32 yrs.) was arrested for by police on May 23rd 2016 from Factory Area Police Station, in Kot Abdul Malik, Sheikhupura, whilst reporting a violent attack by Nawaz Khadim (18yrs), Hanan Ramzan(19yrs.), Aftab Zulfiqar (17 yrs.) and Ehsan Asmat Ali Virk (25 yrs.). Ehsan Virk’s cousin later accused Mr. Liaquat of blasphemy to aid the escape of the young men from authorities.

Despite the three men having beaten Mr. Liaquat so brutally that he was left with severe head injuries and needed emergency treatment Police officers ignored the tangible evidence and pressed charges for a blasphemy case, that led to two years’ imprisonment for Mr. Liaquat. Mr. Liaquat was later acquitted of all the charges due to a lack of evidence and received no compensation for his families’ upheaval or the trumped-up charges that led to his unjust incarceration.

The discord arose after the named youths began a prolonged sexual harassment of Christian girls in Care Foundation School in Sheikhupura, including Mehnaz Noor (18 yrs.), the sister-in-law of Mr. Liaquat.

The male gang would block the girls’ paths in the corridor, write crude messages on their lockers and write vulgar letters and text messages to them. When the girls reported the matter to teachers they did little to resolve the matter. The last straw for family members of the young women and girls was when the male gang then tried to use a derogatory social media campaign to coerce the girls into giving them sexual favors.

With no option before them the father of Mehnaz Noor named Noor Masih (52 yrs) and Mr. Liaquat met with the family members of the young men and explained the situation. Surprisingly the parents seemed to have some compassion and ostensibly asked their sons to stop their aggravation of the Christian girls. The young men even paused their activity for a while but not for long and soon they were re-harassing the girls.

On the 23rd of May 2016 at 7am in the morning the male gang also stopped Mr. Liaquat in the road on his way to work and told him not to interfere with their activity again or he would face grave circumstances. Incensed by their audacity Mr. Liaquat informed them he would be visiting the local police to initiate a First Information Report (FIR).

Mr Liaquat’s threat of involving the police enraged the male gang who began to beat Mr. Liaquat with sticks and bricks and kicked him viciously when he fell to the floor. Mr. Liaquat had severe bleeding from the left side of his head, back and neck from lacerations caused by the violence.

Realising the violence would implicate them in a crime, one of the cousins of Ehsan named Mujahid Ali Virk (25 yrs), helped Mr. Liaquat up placed him into his car and drove him to his in-laws warning Mr. Liaquat that any further action would be met with more violence. On arrival to his In-laws Mr. Liaquat received some first aid from his family who were extremely worried about the situation. They suggested that Mr. Liaquat went to the local police to report the attack so that the youth involved in the attack received some appropriate punishment and Christian girls at Care Foundation School received some protection. Mr. Liaquat was also advised that the male gang members were visiting local police to place some trumped up charges against him but he had no idea what charges they were laying against him at the time.

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