Pakistan: Three blasphemy cases against Christians in one month – a dangerous growing trend
A Pakistani Christian man has been missing since local Muslims accused him of committing blasphemy.
Usman Liaqat, who works at an automobile company, has not been seen since he was accused of making a blasphemous post on Facebook.
The incident took place in Khanpur Canal area in Sheikhupura, Punjab.
His wife however, claims the father-of-three is in police custody.
On May 22 Usman got involved in a fight local Muslims and was rushed to hospital after suffering head injuries.
But he was refused treatment after the hospital administrator said that as it was a police case, nothing could be done until the police arrived.
Usman’s wife alleges that after the police arrived, he was treated and then taken away by them. She believes he is in their custody.
But the officer in charge of the local police station denies this is the case, saying no FIR has been registered against him.
Usman wife explained that on the same day a mob of Muslims gathered outside our house, demanding that the women inside Usman’ house should be brought out and be dishonoured in the same way as, he has blasphemed.
She said they subsequently fled from their home, fearing for their lives.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK expressed his apprehensions about the intensifying misuse of false blasphemy cases against Christians.
He said: “It is a worrying situation as this is the 3rd blasphemy case this month. As far as I am aware, this is an all-time high number over such a short period of time.
“To my knowledge, since the law was introduced in united India in 1860 and then further amended by the military dictator General Zia Ul Hague in 1982, three cases in a row have never been registered in one month.
“This is a dangerous trend and it has to be stopped.”
He added this is only because of the inadvertent lack of interest of the government.
Mr Saeed continued: “Sadly, all of these cases have happened in the Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan. During the partition of the united India, this province was included in Pakistan because of the Christian leaders’ support and endeavours.
“They were assured by the founder of Pakistan, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, that they would be treated as equal citizens and would enjoy equal rights in the country.
“But the truth is that Christians are never considered equal citizens and they are most discriminated and persecuted in this province.”
The majority of blasphemy cases are registered in this province. The chief minister is Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of the prime minister, is head of this province and never tires of praising his good governance and rule of law. He is famous for his quick action, but is yet to take action against the misuse of this law, and is perhaps something particularly nasty needs to happen to stir him into taking some action.
Mr Saeed continued: “The irony is that Provincial human rights minister, Tahir Khalil Sandhu, and the recently pointed federal human rights minister are both Christians, but they seem as oblivious and careless as their bosses.
“I appreciate police officer’s diligence. Despite pressure from the Islamists, he has refused to register a case until his investigations are completed.
“He further said it appears as if the case is over personal disputes, and the complainant trying to take revenge by levelling false blasphemy charges against Usman.”