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ICC Note: A Christian accused of blasphemy in Pakistan has been acquitted by a court in Sheikhupura, located in the Punjab province. According to reports, Usman Liaquat was accused of blasphemy by four Muslim men after he reported an assault to police by the same four individuals. Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are often abused with many being individuals being falsely accused to settle personal scores or incite religious hatred.

05/29/2018 Pakistan (Christians in Pakistan) – A Pakistani Christian accused of committing blasphemy has been acquitted by the Sheikhupura court. Two years ago, Usman Liaquat was accused of posting alleged blasphemous comments on Facebook. After being emancipated, he has joined Christian charity group British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA).

32-years-old Usman was arrested on May 23, 2016. Usman Liaquat, who hails from the Christian community, had reported to the police that Nawaz Khadim, Hanan Ramzan, Aftab Zulfiqar and Ehsan Asmat Virk had violently attacked him. Consequently, Ehsan’s cousin leveled charges of blasphemy against Usman Liaquat.

Nawaz, Hanan, Aftab and Ehsan had beaten Usman violently. Usman who sustained severe head injuries was hooked by police on blasphemy charges. He remained imprisoned for two years and was consequently acquitted by the court due to lack of substantial evidence. However, Usman was not compensated for all the upheaval he and his family have faced.

The dissent began when Nawaz, Hanan, Aftab and Ehsan started harassing Christian girls studying at the Care Foundation School in Sheikhupura; Usman Liaquat’s sister-in-law Mehnaz Noor was also among these girls. Father of Mehnaz Noor and Usman Liaquat approached these four men’s families and informed them about the situation. The parents of these men asked them to stop their lecherous activities. They stopped for a while, however started harassing the Christian girls again.

On May 23, 2016 the gang of four men stopped Usman Liaquat while he was going to work. They threatened him to stop interfering in their activities. Usman told them he would file a police compliant against them. Consequently, the four men started beating him.

Cousin of Ehsan warned Usman that any further action against the four men would result in more violence. However, Usman reported the incident to the police and named the four men in the FIR. On the same day, the culprits registered an FIR against Usman Liaquat accusing him of blasphemy. Usman learnt about the counter FIR next day.

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