In the meantime, the case has triggered a debate on how Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws are being used to settle personal scores and vendettas.
The mother of a 6-month-old girl has been wrongly jailed for more than a month, as Pakistani authorities have failed to file a charge sheet within the mandatory 14-day period against the young Christian woman falsely accused of “blaspheming” the prophet of Islam, her attorney said.
A young mother has been falsely accused of “blaspheming” Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, because she rebuffed attempts by relatives who had converted to Islam to force her to renounce her Christian faith, family members said.
Speaking ill of Muhammad in Pakistan is punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan’s internationally condemned blasphemy laws.
Police charged the man after his landlord accused him of burning pages of the Quran in order to prepare tea.
Pakistan police this month tortured a young Christian woman into revealing the whereabouts of the legal team helping her family after an influential Muslim family kidnapped her and her sister, sources said.
Police also helped the Muslim family beat relatives of the Christian woman on court premises and attacked the offices of the organization trying to help her family, they said.
Pakistani Christians have expressed concerns about renewed kidnappings and abuse of women and girls by Muslims in a country still reeling from the recent assassination of a Christian government minister.
Among those targeted was Sehar Naz, a 24-year-old employee with Pakistan’s State Life Insurance Corporation in Punjab province, who was recovering of her injuries Monday, May 23, after she was allegedly kidnapped and raped by a Pakistan Army officer.
Hundreds of Muslims in Gujranwala on Saturday attacked homes of Christians, a school and a Presbyterian church building after learning that police had released two Christians accused of “blasphemy” — amid reports of another alleged desecration of the Quran.
The riots compelled a large number of Christian families to flee, as they feared the kind of large-scale violence that occurred in Gojra on Aug. 1, 2009, when at least seven Christians were burned alive by Muslim mobs after the spread of a rumor of blasphemy.
Christians in south Punjab Province are accusing senior district officials of supporting local Muslims who allegedly demolished 150 Christian graves and desecrated holy relics — and are now threatening Christians seeking legal redress.
Official records reportedly state that the portion of land was allotted as a Christian cemetery.
Gumen have shot and killed Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, who publicly challenged the country’s controversial blasphemy laws and demanded more rights for minority Christians in the mainly Islamic nation.
He was the only Christian in the cabinet.
“We are disappointed by the stand taken by the Prime Minister,” said Joseph Francis, director of CLAAS (Centre for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement), which has defended dozens of Christians and Muslims charged under the law.