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Pakistan uses blasphemy laws against its Christian population.


Lahore, Pakistan: Police in Pakistan on Sunday (June 23) arrested a Christian under blasphemy laws as part of his siblings’ effort to retaliate against him over a property dispute, sources said.
The arrest came the same day a key government minister admitted on the floor of the National Assembly that the state has failed to protect religious minorities in Pakistan against false blasphemy accusations.Officers from the Okara A-Division Police Station arrested Chand Shamaun, 26, from his home in Christian Colony in Okara District, Punjab Province, in response to a dispute he had with his siblings over his share in their ancestral house the previous night, said area Christian leader Younis Chauhan.

Chauhan said he was with other Christians when Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mehr Yousaf arrived with other officers.

“The police asked us if we knew anything about a Quran desecration incident in the colony,” Chauhan told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “When we told them that no such incident had occurred, DSP Yousaf told me to take them to Chand Shamaun’s House. On reaching the place, the police arrested Chand’s elder brother, Zeeshan Shamaun, who was sleeping at the time.”

Upon Chand Shamaun’s arrival, he reported that he, too, had been taken into custody.

Chauhan said that when area residents asked police why they were arresting the two brothers, Yousaf said they had received information that Chand Shamaun had desecrated the Quran.

“We informed the authorities that despite the frequent arguments between the siblings regarding their property allocation, no sacrilege had occurred,” Chauhan stated. “The DSP promised that the court would grant the brothers bail on Monday, and they would face charges of disturbing public peace under sections 147 and 151 of the Pakistan Penal Code.”

Even so, he said, they were surprised when eight or ten police cars arrived a few hours later and closed the streets leading to Chand Shamaun’s House.

According to Section 295-A of Pakistan’s blasphemy statutes and Section 9 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997, police had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Chand, he said at that point.

Section 295-A prescribes imprisonment of up to 10 years for “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.” Section 9 of the ATA 1997 relates to “acts intended or likely to stir up sectarian hatred” and is punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years.

Chauhan claimed that several Christian families locked their doors and fled the colony when they noticed the police presence, possibly out of concern that the accusation of blasphemy would spark violent demonstrations by extremist organizations.

He stated, “Residents have started returning home, and fortunately, there were no protests in the city.”He said Chand Shamaun is an ambulance driver with two minor children. His brother, Zeeshan, was still in police custody when this was written.

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We were unable to obtain a response from any of their family members.

Bishop Abraham Daniel of the Sahiwal Baptist Church chastised the police for filing a fictitious FIR against the Christian.

“The FIR registered on the complaint of a police Sub-Inspector Haider Ali states that he and five other policemen were standing outside the District Headquarters Hospital Okara when Chand Shamaun came there and started shouting that he would burn the Quran because of his differences with Zeeshan and his sister Zunaira, who had converted to Islam some time ago,” Daniel told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.

According to Ali, when the police tried to arrest Chand Shamaun, he fled on foot to Christian Colony.

Daniel believed that Chand was under police investigation for an alleged religious incident stemming from a family disagreement.

He expressed regret over the misuse of Pakistani blasphemy laws against Christians.

“False accusations and cases of blasphemy have become the norm here,” he declared. “It has gotten to the point where people abandon entire neighborhoods due to accusations alone. Because the complainant in Chand’s case is a police officer who orchestrated the incident rather than a private citizen, there is reason for concern.”

‘Minorities Unsafe’

Additionally, on Sunday, Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif expressed regret for the rise in mob violence incidents against religious minorities in Pakistan during a speech to the National Assembly during a particular session.

“Minorities are getting killed every day,” Asif said. “No minority religion is safe in Pakistan. Not even the smaller Muslim sects are safe.”

The minister said members of the Treasury desired a House resolution to uphold the rights of religious minorities.

He remarked, “Our Constitution protects minorities, but in reality, we are witnessing their murder in Swat, Sargodha, and Faisalabad.” “The country should be concerned and embarrassed about this.”

On June 20, a mob at the Madyan police station in the Swat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province lynched a Muslim resident of Sialkot. Police had detained Muhammad Suleman for alleged desecration of the Quran. The mob not only killed him but also set his body on fire, along with the police station and an official vehicle.

On May 25, a frenzied Muslim mob, including women and children, beat a 74-year-old Christian, Nazeer Masih Gill, with stones and sticks after a local rival accused him of burning pages of the Quran. The mob also set fire to Gill’s shoe factory and House. He underwent two head surgeries but succumbed to his wounds nine days later, on June 3.

Asif told the House that no one of those individuals had blasphemy charges proven against them.

He declared, “We have to make sure our brothers and sisters, who are minorities, are safe.” “They share the majority’s right to reside in this nation. Whether they are Sikh, Christian, Muslim, or practice any other religion, Pakistan is the homeland of all Pakistanis. Minorities are guaranteed complete protection under our Constitution.”

Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar later read a resolution emphasizing that “the right to life is the most cherished right enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.

This House takes serious notice of the recent mob lynching of our citizens accused of offenses in Swat and Sargodha, Tarar read. “It is noted that such incidents have recently increased in different parts of the country.”

The resolution further urged the federal and provincial governments “to ensure the safety and security of all citizens, including religious minorities and other vulnerable segments of society.”

Thus, The National Assembly called for “the provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to take immediate and necessary measures to identify, investigate and prosecute those involved in these incidents under the relevant laws.”

Furthermore, the House expressed the expectation that the courts would ensure immediate and speedy justice in these cases, underscoring the need for swift legal action to prevent future occurrences of such tragic events, the resolution concluded.

Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List of the most challenging places to be a Christian, as it was the previous year.



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International Christian News publishes reports on the mission field, specifically focusing on the persecuted church and providing daily gospel news. The organization aims to fulfill the Great Commission, edify the global Christian community, and bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.