Two blasphemy cases have been reported in the country in a matter of days. One is in Faisalabad, in Punjab, and the other is in Upper Kohistan, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The first case was of a woman whose video went viral on social media and in which she claimed that her sister was a ‘prophet’.
The video stirred a storm and infuriated people soon gathered outside the woman’s residence. The police rushed to the scene to control the situation and took the woman and her husband, who also supported her claims, into custody.
The City Police Officer (CPO) of Faisalabad, Syed Ali Nasir Rizvi, assured the mob that the accused woman and all those involved in the matter would be brought to justice following the law.
The other case was reported in Upper Kohistan, where a Chinese national working on a hydropower project was taken into custody for allegedly passing insulting comments.
As per the FIR, the Chinese national uttered “sacrilegious remarks” when people working on the Dasu hydropower project sought a break for prayers.
This stirred up the emotions of some of the workers, and soon a large crowd gathered on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and threatened to storm the project site if the accused was not arrested.
Police identified the detainee as “Mr Tian,” head of heavy transport at the Chinese Gezhouba Group Company that is working on the Dasu hydropower project.
The village elders tried to calm down the situation, advising the enraged people to give the police time to handle the situation. Subsequently, an FIR was registered with the Kamila police station.
A group of religious leaders, including Upper Kohistan Deputy Commissioner Irfanullah Mehsood and District Police Officer (DPO) Mohammad Khalid, held a meeting and urged the enraged protesters not to take the law into their own hands as the local administration and police were handling the matter.
Work at the site, however, remained suspended.
The man has been sent to prison on a 14-day judicial remand by an Abbottabad anti-terrorism court.
According to the district police officer, Mohammad Khalid, the suspect had been arrested under blasphemy and terrorism charges and airlifted to Abbottabad, where he was presented before the ATC.
So sensitive was the situation that the security personnel did not divulge any details about his whereabouts.
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue indeed, and those who have been accused of it end up facing the wrath of people. According to the law, blasphemy is punishable by death.
Several blasphemy cases have been reported over the years, but there have been instances where the accusations turned out to be false. One such case involved a Sri Lankan national who was working in a factory in Sialkot. He was accused of blasphemy by his co-workers and then lynched to death. However, the allegation turned out to be false, and a court awarded the death sentence to six men who had lynched the Sri Lankan to death.
In the Dasu project case, the religious leaders acted wisely and instead of inciting people, asked them to let the police handle the situation.
Blasphemers should not be allowed to go scot-free. They should face the law and, if found guilty, should be awarded the punishment fixed for this offence. But we, as responsible citizens, should not take matters into our own hands.
Our religious leaders and elders have a major role to play in controlling the situation. Let the law take its course.