ATC grants 14-day judicial detention of Chinese accused of blasphemy

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An Abbottabad anti-terrorism court (ATC) sentenced the Chinese national to jail on a 14-day judicial detention on Monday after he was arrested in Upper Kohistan area on blasphemy accusations.

Following protests on Monday, police detained a Chinese national employed at the Dasu hydropower project after workers at the dam site claimed he had blasphemed during an argument.

The district police officer (DPO) in Upper Kohistan Mohammad Khalid said, “We have arrested the foreigner suspect under blasphemy and terrorism charges and airlifted him from here to present him before the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Abbottabad.”

Later, the suspect was brought before the ATC under tight security. Regarding his location of imprisonment, security officers kept mum, but the DPO said he was flown to Islamabad on a chopper on Monday night.

The guy, according to the neighbours, had complained to employees at the dam that prayer breaks were wasting “precious time”. Some of the employees were incensed by this, and they dispersed to neighbouring villages to stir up trouble.

The Karakoram Highway (KKH) was then blocked by a sizable, agitated mob that moved towards Kamila Bazaar and threatened to storm the Dasu Hydropower Project (DHP) location if the Chinese guy wasn’t taken into custody.

Elders sought to calm the gathering by telling them to wait until the police handled the “delicate matter.”

In accordance with Sections 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 6/7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, a FIR of the event was finally filed at the Kamila police station in Upper Kohistan.

Some employees and their translators claimed in the FIR that the suspect made “sacrilegious remarks” when they asked for a break to pray.