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Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

A Christian couple remained detained Thursday, March 11, as they began serving a 25-year prison term for blasphemy against Islam shortly after another Christian received a similar sentence, the latest in a series of cases that have worried the human rights community.

Ruqqiya Bibi and her husband Munir Masih were sentenced last week under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code for “defiling” the Quran, deemed a holy book by Muslims, because they allegedly touched it without ritually washing their hands, the independent Center Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) told BosNewsLife.

Islamic “fundamentalists came with fake evidences to prove that we allegedly violated Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law,” said the handcuffed Masih.

Soon after he and his wife were separated and now serve time in the District Jail Kasur and Women Jail Multan in the Kasur area, a city near Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.

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The Christian community on Thursday blocked the Lahore-Sheikhupura Road in protest against the alleged murder of a Christian maid by her employers.

The family of the deceased girl, Kiran, alleged that Ahmed Raza, along with his mother and another relative, had doused the victim with petrol and set her on fire following a marriage dispute.

Kiran was taken to the Mayo Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. The family alleged that Raza had an affair with Kiran, but had refused to marry her.

Station House Officer (SHO) Faisal Chidhar told Daily Times that Kiran had left her house to work as a maid at Ahmad’s a couple of years ago. She later submitted an application before the court of Judicial Magistrate Mudasar Farid in April, 2009, in which she had alleged that her parents wanted to kill her.

The court then sent her to the Dar-Al-Aman. However, after submitting another application in which she asked for permission to leave Dar-Al-Aman, she was allowed to leave. She then permanently moved into Ahmad’s house, where she and Ahmad later engaged in an affair.

The SHO said that some days ago Ahmad and his family had allegedly burnt Kiran after she demanded that Ahmad marry her. He said that police had registered a case and had arrested the culprits.

However, the case took a peculiar turn after two former union council nazims involved themselves in the issue in a bid to win the Christian vote bank.

“Two former union council nazims of UC-71 tried to take advantage of the situation to attract the Christian vote bank. Initially, former nazim Mansha Ghoopera had raised the issue that the girl had allegedly converted to Islam and thus her funeral would be held in accordance with Islamic practices. Later, another former nazim of the same union council, Safdar Sahi, convinced the deceased’s family to stage a protest to pressurise police to arrest the people responsible for Kiran’s death, but police had already registered a case and arrested the culprits,” the SHO said.

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The slaughtered body of a teenage girl was found in an empty plot within the limits of PIB police station. Police said the victim was identified as 19-year-old Sobia, daughter of Sarwar, a resident of PIB Colony.

The police quoted the victim’s mother Jameela as saying that the suspect Naveed wanted to marry her daughter, but she refused on which he had started giving her threats.

On Thursday, Sobia went to her sister’s home, but was abducted on the way. MLO Nasreen Qamar said the body bore torture marks.

The victim was a student and hailed from Punjab. The police registered an FIR against Naveed and his friends on the complaint of the victim’s mother.

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Pakistani Christians have strongly protested the release on bail of a Muslim lawyer accused of raping, torturing and killing last month Shazia Bashir, a 12-year-old Catholic girl, employed in his household as domestic worker.

They have appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, a symbol of judicial independence in Pakistan, to take immediate action against the court’s decision.

The girl’s parents led the protest as demonstrators shouted slogans and carried banners, proclaiming “Innocent Shazia’s blood calls for punishment of a ruthless murderer and corrupt doctors” and “The bail of murderer raises questions for rulers.”

Last Saturday, Judge Shafiq-ur-Rehman of the Lahore Court released Muhammad Naeem, his wife and son on bail.

The accused’s lawyer said the girl’s autopsy report did not prove she was murdered, but indicated instead that she had died from an infection caused by old injuries.

In his opinion, the case was not about murder, especially since 14 days of police investigation did not yield any evidence that would suggest that Muhammad Naeem or any member of his family was involved in the girl’s death.

The Christian community has rejected the lawyer’s claims as well as the results of the autopsy, pointing out that Shazia’s body showed signs of torture and sexual abuse.

They claim that the powerful former head of the Lahore Bar Association locked the girl in his house against her will and killed her when she refused to work for him.

In protest, a group of Christians blocked the road outside the Lahore Press Club, and burnt the picture of a Jinnah Hospital official, whom they accuse of falsifying the girl’s death certificate.

In two weeks of hearings, Christian lawyers and anyone trying to represent the victim’s family have received threats and experiencedacts of intimidation.

Activists have also alleged that defence lawyers, police, judges and government authorities have worked together, coming close to colluding, in order to bury the case.

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) and the Human Liberation Commission of Pakistan (HLCP) have organised the Christian protest. Their leaders have complained that in Shazia’s case, justice was assassinated by the powerful machinery of the state, which seeks to save the skin of the murderer, Muhammad Naeem.

They also blame doctors for playing a shameful role in doctoring the medical report, and police for manipulating the investigation.

Not only has the appeal against bail reached Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, but it has also seized public opinion, finding its way on online discussion forums and the social network Facebook. For many in cyberspace, the silence by the chief justice and the minister of minorities is deafening.

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A female school teacher tortured a student of grade 2 to death for not bringing her notebook in a government-run school in the village Jhukkay of Layyah district.

After receiving an application from Muhammad Arif, the father of the victim Nazia, the local police station registered a case against the Iqbal Ara and arrested her in a murder case.

Layyah District Police Officer Muhammad Saleem told the channel that the police shifted the body of the victim to the district hospital for a post-mortem. Stern action would be taken against the teacher if it’s proven that she tortured the student, he added.

Having received serious injuries in her head and other parts of the body, the 10-year-old student died after two days of remaining unconscious.

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