Christian Nurse in Pakistan Falsely Accused of Blasphemy by Muslim Coworker
The nurse was attempting to stop her Muslim coworker from collecting money from patients.
01/29/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a 30-year-old Christian nurse in Pakistan was falsely accused of committing blasphemy against Islam. According to local sources, the Christian was accused by a Muslim coworker after a personal dispute over receiving cash tips from hospital patients.
On January 28, Tabitha Nazir Gill was falsely accused of committing blasphemy while working at Sobhraj Maternity Hospital in Karachi, a hospital where she has been a nurse for the past nine years. She was later taken into police custody.
According to a local ICC source, the head nurse at Sobhraj Maternity Hospital issued orders that medical staff may not receive tips or deal with money from patients. Gill reportedly reminded a Muslim coworker of these orders when she saw the coworker collect money from a patient.
In response, the Muslim coworker falsely accused Gill of committing blasphemy and incited violence against her colleague. Videos of hospital staff beating Gill surfaced on social media and Gill was reportedly tied up with ropes, tortured, and locked in a room before being taken into police custody.
However, police released Gill, handing her over to her family, after a short investigation did not find any evidence that Gill had committed blasphemy. Gill and her family have since moved to an unknown location fearing vigilante violence.
“Police have provided protection to the victim and tried to resolve the issue,” ICC’s source reports. “However, a mob of hundreds of Muslims gathered at the local police station to force the police to register a FIR against Gill. This FIR was lodged today.”
First Information Report 74/21 was filed by police regarding the blasphemy accusation against Gill. The accusation remains under police investigation.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.
Since Pakistan added Section 295-B and 295-C to the country’s blasphemy laws in 1987, the number of blasphemy accusations have skyrocketed. Between 1987 and 2017, 1,534 individuals in Pakistan have been accused of blasphemy. Out of that 1,534, 829 accusations (54%), were made against religious minorities. With Christians only making up 1.6% of Pakistan’s total population, the 238 accusations (15.5%) made against Christians is highly disproportionate.
ICC’s Regional Manager, William Stark, said, “We here at International Christian Concern condemn the false blasphemy allegation that has been leveled against Tabitha Nazir Gill. In Pakistan, blasphemy allegations forever ruin the lives of the accused, even if proved to be false. We call on Pakistani authorities to thoroughly and fairly investigate this false allegation and bring the false accuser to justice. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws must no longer be allowed to settle personal scores or incite religious hatred. Too often these laws have been a tool in the hands of extremists seeking to stir up religiously motivated violence against minorities.”