LAHORE: A Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy for scattering garbage near a mosque has died of wounds suffered after a policeman attacked him with a hammer, police said yesterday.
Lahore police official Abdul Shakoor said constable Faryad Ali was arrested on murder charges, after the victim, Samuel Masih, died.
The constable attacked Masih this week at a hospital in the eastern city of Lahore after learning that he had been accused of strewing garbage near the walls of a mosque.
Masih, 27, was arrested last year on a blasphemy complaint and was recently taken to hospital from prison for treatment of tuberculosis.
The death stirred strong protest from minority leaders. They called for the abolition of blasphemy laws introduced in the 1970s under the military dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq.
“This is a brutal act of terrorism committed by the police constable and a clear misuse of blasphemy law,” said Shahbaz Bhatti, president of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance.
“This is the time that government should abolish blasphemy law.”
President Pervez Musharraf, who is fighting religious extremism after joining the US-led “war on terror”, this month called for a review of the strict Islamic rules including the controversial laws on blasphemy.