Christians and Hindus are the biggest victims of the misuse of Pakistan’s draconian Blasphemy laws. These laws are used to falsely implicate any minority in false case just to settle their personal scores or incite religious hatred. Hindu and Christian girls are increasingly kidnapped, forcefully converted to Islam and married to Islamist Radicals. Cases of Acid attacks on Christian and Hindu girls have increased. We covered attacks on Christians in Details in our previous article “Pakistan A Living Hell For Christians. But Takes Foreign Aid From Christian Countries.”
In cases where Christian or Hindu women reject the advances of Islamist Radical men or refuse invitations to convert to Islam, violence can erupt. Because of this, Christian and Hindu women are often kidnapped and forcefully converted to Islam. According to a study by The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, as many as 1,000 Christian and Hindu women face this treatment in Pakistan every year.
Blasphemy Law in Pakistan
The Pakistan Penal Code, the main criminal code of Pakistan, punishes blasphemy against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death. At least 1,472 people were charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws between 1987 and 2016, according to statistics collected by the Center for Social Justice, a Lahore-based advocacy group.
Blasphemy Law made them more severe between 1980 and 1986, when several clauses were added by the military government of General Zia-ul Haq, in order to “Islamicise” the laws and deny the Muslim character to the Ahmadi minority.
Today, the most frequently invoked blasphemy laws in Pakistan’s Penal Code are Sections 295-A (outraging religious feelings), 295-B (desecrating the Quran), 295-C (defiling the name of the Prophet Muhammad) and 298-A (defiling the names of the family of the Prophet Muhammad, his companion or any of the caliphs). When charges are levelled under most of these laws, the police have the authority to arrest the alleged offender without a warrant and can commence their investigation without orders from the magistrate’s court.
In 1990, the Federal Sharia Court, responding to a petition, ruled that the death penalty was mandatory under 295-C.
Misuse of Blasphemy Laws to oppress minority Christians and Hindus in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws violate the rights to life; freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief; and freedom of opinion and expression. While they purport to protect religious sentiments – mainly those of the Islamist Radical majority – prosecutors, defense lawyers and human rights activists interviewed expressed concerns over the use of the laws by individuals apparently for other motives. Such motives vary, but can include professional rivalry, personal or religious disputes, hostility towards religious minorities, and seeking economic gains such as money and land. These ulterior motives have been acknowledged by some courts in their judgments acquitting those accused of blasphemy or when quashing the charges leveled against them.
Many people accused of blasphemy have been murdered before their trials were over, and prominent figures who opposed the blasphemy law have been assassinated. According to one religious minority source, an accusation of blasphemy commonly exposes the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, attacks and rioting.
“The Majority of blasphemy cases are based on false accusations stemming from property issues or other personal or family vendettas rather than genuine instances of blasphemy and they inevitably lead to mob violence against the entire community.” Supreme Court judgement in Malik Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri v the State, 7 October 2015
The topic is so inflammatory that even calls to reform have provoked violence, most notably the assassination of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, by his own bodyguard in 2011. The Blasphemy issue also created a new religious extremist movement that has dictated terms to successive governments and paralyzed the country at will with violent protests.
Some cases of Misuse of Blasphemy Laws, Acid Attacks
On 3-June 2013, 3 Christian women were brutally beaten and then paraded naked by armed men hired by a landlord who had the support of the then ruling party, the PML-N. The revelation was made by a press release issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
The male members of the family were attending to their jobs. The attackers entered the house by jumping the boundary wall of their house and unlocked the gate from the inside. At that time, the women were sleeping in the house along with their father-in-law and mother-in-law. The mob invaded the house and started looking for Masih’s sons, but when they could not find his sons, they started beating the three women.
The party workers then took the three Christian women out into the street and tore their clothes off. Then they started shouting to attract the attention of the people nearby, to let them see the extent of the revenge and the power of the landlord. As the women screamed and shouted for help, some elderly people of the village came out and put their turbans on the feet of the attackers, pledging them to leave the women. After this, the attackers released the women but threatened the villagers against complaining to the police. Pict
On 6-June 2013 a Pakistani Christian, Bushra Waiz, a Pashto language singer and actor was attacked with acid in Nowshera, 148 kilometers (92 miles) northwest of Islamabad. The eighteen-year-old theatre artist Bushra was sleeping in her house when somebody scaled the house and threw acid on her. “A man climbed the wall of our house in the early hours, threw acid on my sister and fled,” Bushra’s brother, Pervez Khan said. Pict
Acid attacks are common in Pakistan with scores of such assaults taking place each year.
On 4 April 2014, the District Court in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, sentenced Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Masih (a disabled) to the death under Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code, commonly referred to as the “blasphemy law” “, which punishes the “Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet”, i.e. Muhammad, with the death penalty. The couple also argues that evidence exists that their sentencing judge, Mian Amir Habib, “was intimidated by hardline lawyers and religious leaders in the community
Their accuser, a Gojra resident called Muhammad Hussain, says that on 18 July 2013 he received a text message with blasphemous remarks on his mobile phone whilst praying in the mosque.
Kausar alleged that the neighbour succeeded in obtaining the copy of her National Identity Card (NIC) and purchased a SIM in her name and later misused that SIM and forwarded the alleged blasphemous messages to the complainant, who was in collusion with their neighbor.
Both were awarded death sentence by a district court in Pakistan’s Punjab province in April 2014 and also imposed a fine of Rs 100,000 each. Appeal is pending in Lahore High Court. Till the writing of this article, Kausar is being held at Multan prison while her husband is imprisoned about 150 miles away at the Faisalabad District Jail. They have not seen each other since before their sentencing. Their four children, aged between nine and fifteen, are now in the care of a paternal aunt.
30-July 2014, four men sprayed acid on six women inside a house in Balochistan’s Pishin district. The attack was carried out through syringes. 6 women were injured in the attack. Fortunately, the faces of the women were saved but their feet were injured in the attack. Pict
In July 2014, 2 more acid attacks also took place in Mastung and Quetta cities. 6 women were injured in these 2 attacks. Police suspected Islamist Radical militants to be behind those attacks.
MAY 15, 2015, A 27-year-old Christian woman and a 15-year-old Christian girl were rushed to a hospital for emergency medical treatment in Quetta, Pakistan, after a man threw acid on their faces, severely injuring them. The two women, identified as Rimsha Masih and Hina, suffered severe burns after the accused sprayed acid on their faces through a syringe. “Rimsha’s face was 30 per cent affected whereas 15 per cent of Hina’s face was burnt in the attack.
Tue 24 Apr 2018 The 25 year old Christian, working as a beautician was set on fire after the Acid attack, by the Islamist Radical man she rejected. The woman, Asma Yacoob, a Christian had acid thrown on her by Rizwan Gujjar, 30, whom she refused to marry. on 10th April Gujjar threw large amounts of acid on her and then set fire to her before running away. Yacoob was working as a beautician for a bride in Pak Pura town, Sialkot, when she was told her brother had arrived and wanted to speak to her, only to find that when she went out into a courtyard it was Gujjar. Asma was taken to Mayo Hospital, Lahore with 90 percent burns, but later succumbed to her injuries. pict
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS (Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement) in the UK said this was just one terrible example of how Christian women are treated in Pakistan, saying: “They are often harassed and intimidated at their workplace. They are often asked to convert to Islam and to marry Muslim colleagues.”
In a statement CLAAS said: “Christian girls are looked upon as inferior and as a commodity and have no respect in society.”
They say that some women are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam and that: “Such cases are becoming everyday matters and the police hardly make any advances, especially if the victim is Christian.”
15-September 2018, A Christian manager of a local hospital in Lahore was killed after being targeted in an acid attack whilst getting off his motorcycle just before the start of his shift. The attack was carried out by two of his Islamist Radical coworkers, who resented the fact that they had to work under the supervision of a Christian.
19-March 2019, 2 Hindu girls, Raveena (13) and Reena (15), were kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam and forcibly married to Islamists by a group of “influential” Islamist Radicals from their home in Ghotki district in Sindh. Seven people were arrested in Pakistan for assisting in solemnizing the wedding of two Hindu minor girls, as the teenagers approached a court in the country’s Punjab province seeking protection.
27-May 2019, A Hindu veterinary doctor was arrested after a local cleric filed a police complaint accusing him of committing blasphemy in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province. The head cleric of the local mosque, Maulvi Ishaq Nohri, filed the complaint with the police alleging that the doctor had torn pages of a holy book and wrapped medicines in them.
The doctor, identified as Ramesh Kumar, was taken into custody while angry protestors set fire to shops owned by Hindus and burnt tyres on road in Phuladyon town in Mirpurkhas district in the province, media reports said.
13-June 2019 A 55-year-old Christian named Saleem Masih was accused of blasphemy in Khanewal, located in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, on June 13. Sources reached by International Christian Concern (ICC) say that the accusation comes as a result of a property dispute between Saleem Masih and his sister-in-law, Ayesha, who recently converted to Islam. Ayesha accused Saleem Masih of burning pages from the Quran and had him arrested under section 295-B of Pakistan’s Penal Code.
On 29 June 2019, A 19-year-old Pakistani Christian student has been charged with blasphemy after getting into a dispute with Islamist neighbors over a cricket match.in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. The Christian’s Islamist friend, Bilal Ahmed, claims he saw fliers with blasphemous information in his backpack and quickly reported the incident to the police. Local reports claim that the allegation against Waqas is false and was only made to “settle” the argument. Nonetheless, Waqas was arrested and charged with committing blasphemy under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s Penal Code. According to the family, Bilal Ahmad has implicated Sunny in a fake case of blasphemy to settle his personal grudges. Sunny Waqas is in District Jail Bahawalpur and he may have to spend several years to get justice as the Pakistani justice system is very slow.
July 8, 2019 “According to FIR #353/19, registered at the Bahawalnagar police station, Mushtaq and Asghar have been accused of receiving blasphemous sketches of the Prophet Muhammad on their WhatsApp numbers. Police reportedly recovered printouts of the blasphemous sketches from Mushtaq. However, Mushtaq’s family denies the allegation, stating, ‘The police have generated this story against Sunny.’ ICC’s local sources have confirmed that Mushtaq and Asghar did receive a blasphemous sketch on their smartphones. However, the sketch was sent by Bilal Ahmad, an Islamist. To date, police have not taken any action against Ahmad, the sender of the blasphemous image.”
11 July 2019 Saima Sardar, a resident of a Christian-majority neighborhood in Faisalabad, was reportedly shot and killed on July 10 by Muhammad Waseem, an Islamist Radical man, after she refused to forcibly convert to Islam and marry him. According to local reports, Sardar worked as a staff nurse at a local district hospital where she was murdered.
11-July 2019 A 11-year-old Christian boy killed by his boss over a paltry sum of money in Faisalabad. Badal Masih worked at a scrapyard owned by a Islamist Radical named Ifran. His employer was infuriated when the child told him he would no longer work for him. He was a “very obedient child,” says his mother. They “took his life for no reason.” To help the family, Badal decided to take a summer job at a scrapyard owned by an Islamist, not far from home, for 50-100 rupees (30 to 60 US cents) per day.
Two days ago, the boy asked the employer for a loan of 180 rupees (US$ 1.15) for some expenses necessary for the family. The boss began abusing the child for not paying back the money. At that point, Badal returned home, took 150 rupees from his mother, and returned to the scrapyard to repay the debt. Then he told the owner that he would no longer work for him. This infuriated the man who, with his brother Akram, brutally beat the boy, hitting him in the head with hammer.
Joel Amir Sohotra, a former Christian lawmaker said, “I strongly condemn this inhuman act of extreme torture and alleged rape of a child,” he said. “This is the sick mindset of a cruel society that does not see minorities and the poor as human beings and so tortures them if they refuse to obey because they think that no one will stand against them over these poor creatures.” “Pedophiles,” he believes, “are ruining Pakistan’s image in the world. I call upon the government to take stern actions against the culprits and bring them to justice. They must be punished in accordance with the law.”
12-July 2019 At least eight Christians remain on death row in Pakistan after being convicted under the Islamic law of “blasphemy”.
15 July 2019 Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. Rimsha Masih a 15-year-old Christian child is abducted. For several days Parents cried at doorsteps of Police Station, but no steps were taken to search & rescue the girl. It’s already too late Islamist Radicals will rape & forcibly convert her!
Recently Hindu Council organized a protest march in Karachi, against the Islamist Radicals in Pakistan abducting Hindu minority girls and forcefully converting them to Islam and marrying them to Islamist Radicals. It was attended by Hindus and Christians. We covered it in our previous article Multiple Protests By Different Minority Groups Against Tyrannical Rule Of Punjabi Pakistan
28 cases of Christian girls’ victims
We obtained a list of about 28 cases of Christian girls’ victim of abduction, torture, sexual harassment, rape, forced conversion and forced marriages consisting of the period from November 2018 to June 2019.
1. Shalet Javed (15 years old), was abducted, forced to convert to Islam and forced to be married from Dhandra, Faisalabad
2. Sadaf Khan, a Christian girl 13 year old, was kidnapped and forced into Islamic marriage from Cholistan, Wichra Bangla, Bahawalpur
3. Two Christian domestic workers Saima (24 years old), and her young female cousin Sineha (11 years old) were held for several days and tortured by Islamist Radical employer from Faisalbad.
4. On the evening of 21st November 2018, during celebrations of the birth of Muhammad (Rabi ul Awal) Sonia (10 years old) was playing with her sister Laiba (9 years old) in the grounds nearby their home at Chak 62 Bhagywala Matiyani district Faisalabad, an Islamist Radical abductor tried to kidnap and rape them and saved by the reaction of the younger child ,however the abductor fled the scene of the crime.
5. A Pakistani Christian mother of eight, Shazia Bibi, was beaten and forced to convert to Islam. Shazia Bibi used to work as a domestic servant at Mian Imran’s house, in Chanan Village District Gujrat.
6. Faisalabad, a Christian girl Saima, her mother Kausar and their relative Salma were illegally detained for thirteen days in Jhumra police station and tortured by male policemen. Saima had been working as a domestic worker at the house of mill owner and politically influential Rana Saif for three and half years.
7. In the month of June 2019, a Christian girl Rachel Irfan was harassed to have sexual relationship with two Islamist Radical lecturers Doctor Shafqat and Shaista Ghazanfar in University of Education Lahore.
8. On 13-06-2019, a Christian girl Benish was kidnapped when coming back home from taking exam of F.A resident of a small Christian Colony near Gloria Colony Shiekhupura.
9. A Christian girl from a village of Shahdara Lahore namely 15 years old Ribqa was abducted by Islamist Radicals.
10. On 9-06-2019, a Christian girl Neha Khawar was abducted from area of Ara Bazar of Lahore and at Police station South Showni FIR registered after involvement of Christian political person MPA Haroon Imran Gill.
11. Gujranwala village Harchoki, Christians families were attacked by Islamist Radicals of the area’s land lords. Christian’s women were also tortured.
12. A Christian girl Videa 16 years old abducted.
13. Karachi sector 9 Muhala Saidabad Baldia Town, a 15 years old Christian girl Neha Pervaiz was abducted and forced to convert Islam and rapped for seven days by a 45 years old Islamist Radical man.
14. Rana Town, Shere Bengal Colony, a Christian girl 12 year old Seneha Ashraf when going to school, was abducted and made hostage in a nearby school and attempted to be raped by a Cleric Murtaza and Muhammad Mubashar.
15. Shahdara Lahore, a Christian girl 14 year old namely Raisha, was kidnapped, raped, forced to convert into Islam and then married.
16. Two real sisters Rimsha Javed and Neha Javed were kidnapped and raped and converted to Islam by an Islamist Radical Khalid Shah at Shera Kot Lahore.
17. Qila Dedar Singh, a 15 years old Christian girl namely Sheeeza, was kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam and married by Islamist kidnappers who have support of landlords Islamist Radicals of the area.
18. Faisalabad Chand Colony a 15 years old Christian girl was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Islamist man Rafael.
19. Sania Lateef, 15 years old Christian girl, went missing on 25 May. Some witnesses saw her being abducted by two Islamist Radicals, Muhammad Naveed and Muhammad Pervaiz. She lives in Kokian Wala, Faisalabad, with her parents Lateef Masih and Asia Bibi, and her brother Suleman.
20. Sara Aslam, a Christian girl 17-year-old, was kidnapped on gun point and raped on May 15, 2019. When the family pursues the case FIR No. 225/19 offence under section 376 PPC was registered against an Islamist man Ali Raza Shah, he was granted pre-arrest bail and he started to threat and to pressurize the family to withdraw the case. The accused openly threatened the family for life to force them for reconciliation.
21. Hyderabad, an 11 years old Christian girl Nida was kidnapped from Joneejo colony Site area on 30 March 2019 by one Nazim who took girl for getting her biscuits. After few hours’ kidnapper telephoned mother of girl demanding ransom of Rs.20, 000 to bring at Bhit Shah and get her girl back. But kidnapper did not release girls despite receiving ransom of Rs.20, 000 from girl’s mother. Later mother approached Tando Adam Police which arrested kidnapper but instead of recovering kidnapped girl from him kept him in lock up for 3 days and handed him to Site police.
22. Lahore, a 12-year-old Christian girl, Sadaf Emmanuel, was abducted from the forefront of the market at 9; 00 am on April 10, 2019, when she went out to buy milk for her grandmother tea in vicinity of Warburton.
23. Gujranwala village Penaakh a Christian girl Mehrab Javed was attempted to kidnaped and tortured, her clothes torn by a Islamist Radial man Muhammad Fahad while she was coming home from school by three wheelers.
24. Shiekhupura village Bhattal, a pastor and his wife were attacked and tortured by Islamist Radicals.
25. Lahore Sabzabagh, a Christian girl’s parlor was attacked and threatened to run parlor in the area by Islamist Radicals.
26. Kasur, a Catholic woman, Ishrat Saba, is sexually harassed and exploited by a Islamist Head Teacher, Zaheer Abbas, at village of Punjab Kacha Paka Chak No.43 Elementary School Serai Mughal, Pattoki, Kasur during school hours.
27. Shiekhupura, Komal is a young Christian girl resident of a small town Ajniyawala. An Islamist Atique Shah aged 32 forcibly entered in to her house and attempted to rape in the absence of her mother who was out for some work.
28. Lahore, Malaika Sabir, a Christian girl 13 year old, resident of a small village of Raiwind, Lahore, is a student of 5th class. She was sexually harassed by a local Islamist named Riassat caste Jatt who forcibly entered in the house and harassed Malaika and tried to rape her.
As per local Christians, “it seems that the Commonwealth and successive British governments care little. Therefore, the latest Christian female to die in a brutal acid attack for refusing to marry a Muslim and converting to Islam in Pakistan will barely make a squeak.”
As per him, “the majority of Syrians accepted to move to the United Kingdom are Islamist Radicals – yes, the same faith that ISIS and various al-Qaeda groups come from.”
Local source further said, “The reason why it appears that successive British governments don’t care along with the Commonwealth is multiple. Yet, two obvious reasons vindicate this lack of care and the first fact is that the majority of nationals from Pakistan who moved to the United Kingdom are Islamist Radicals. However, it is religious minorities who are suffering institutional discrimination, the fear of their daughters being forcibly converted to Islam, terrorist attacks, and other deplorable factors that can be blamed on Islamist Radicals and the mindset of supremacy.”
He further said, “Equally important, all religious minorities fear female members being forcibly converted to Islam. This is based on rape, forced marriage, enormous economic pressure and underhanded tactics, and non-Muslim families residing in fear if their daughter spurns a Muslim advance. At the same time, the courts, the police, and the state apparatus, usually turns a blind eye or tacitly supports the systematic persecution of non-Muslims. Despite this, Pakistan isn’t faced with being expelled or suspended from the Commonwealth – nor does this nation fear economic sanctions based on religious discrimination.”
US has asked recently to Pakistan to release more than 40 members of the religious minorities facing blasphemy charges
Amnesty International requests to International Community
Amnesty International in its report recently urged the International community including The United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), Institutions and Member States
Use all relevant UN and EU mechanisms to urge the Pakistani authorities to repeal the blasphemy laws, and, pending repeal, to put in place procedural safeguards to prevent the abuse of the blasphemy laws, along the lines set out in the recommendations to the Pakistani authorities above.
Urge the Pakistan government to immediately and unconditionally release those deprived of their liberty solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, whom Amnesty International considers to be prisoners of conscience, and to drop charges against those awaiting trial under the blasphemy laws.
The EU and its member states, the USA and all other states must ensure that any training or cooperation in regard to the criminal justice sector in Pakistan, including police and other law enforcement officials, prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges, includes a significant human rights component, particularly in regard to their specific roles in respecting and protecting human rights in blasphemy cases.
Urge the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression to raise the issue of the abusive use of the blasphemy laws with the government of Pakistan with a view to immediately establishing procedural safeguards on the application of these laws.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are routinely used to target vulnerable people on the basis of false accusations. There is broad scope for their abuse which means that anyone can level an accusation of blasphemy, which can lead to criminal charges. Inadequate safeguards then mean the accused have few means to defend themselves. In a perversion of the justice system, the accused are often presumed to be guilty, on the basis of little or no evidence. As the accused struggle to establish their innocence, they often face serious threats to their lives. Many people have been threatened and killed in revenge attacks after accusations of blasphemy were made against them. As Pakistan’s Supreme Court has acknowledged, the majority of blasphemy accusations are false. However, this does not prevent angry crowds, aroused by clerics and their supporters, from taking the law into their own hands while the authorities routinely fail to prevent these abuses and, by doing so, enable a culture of impunity.
Points to Ponder
Europe and UK allowed millions of Islamist Radicals as Refugees. Those Islamist refugees have made the life of Christians hell in EU and UK. They are involved in all sort of crimes. Women and daughters are not safe. Instead of inviting the Islamist Radicals, shouldn’t, these Christian Minorities been the best fit to be taken in as Refugees instead?
The total number of Christians in Pakistan was estimated at 2.5 million in 2005, or 1.6% of the population. 3.2 million i.e. 3,237,893 (2017) 1.6% of the Pakistani Population are Christians. If all the Christians from Pakistan are migrated and settled in Europe, Pakistan will have no connection left with Christianity. Whole Christian world can than boycott Pakistan and stop all the Foreign Aid to the FATF Grey Listed Pakistan. Christians will assimilate well with Europeans being from the same religion. If European Union, UK want, they can instead migrate 2.5 million Islamist refugees to Pakistan in an exchange of Refugee program. Islamist Refugees would gel well in Pakistan which itself is a Radical Islamist Nation.
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