Blasphemy: Another Christian Woman Charged
Bahawalnagar Police show undue haste in registering case under Section 295-C against Shamim even though one of the two witnesses and complainant were not present at the alleged crime scene
LAHORE – Police in Khichiwala, Bahawalnagar district have charged a young Christian woman under the country’s blasphemy laws allegedly for speaking against the Holy Prophet (PBUH), while her family claims that she has been framed for refusing to renounce her faith on the insistence of some relatives who had recently converted to Islam, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Twenty-six-year-old Shamim, mother of a five-month-old girl and resident of Chak No. 170/7R Colony, Fort Abbas tehsil, was taken into custody on February 28, by the Khichiwala Police and charged under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code after her neighbours accused her of uttering blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
However, Shamim’s brother Ilyas Masih and brother-in-law Shahbaz Masih told Pakistan Today that the young woman had been wrongly accused as she had turned down an invitation to convert to Islam just a day before she was accused of uttering blasphemous remarks.
“Nazeeran, sister of Shamim’s husband Bashir Masih, nephew Nadeem and niece Bella converted to Islam on February 24, and called on her to do the same … she refused, telling them that she was satisfied with Christianity and did not want to convert,” Ilyas said. “Shamim told us on the telephone that Nazeeran and others were forcing her to convert, and asked us to visit her. We [Shamim’s father and two brothers] went to meet her on February 27, and left just before evening.
At night we were informed that Shamim’s neighbours had accused her of blaspheming,” said Ilyas. According to the First Information Report (FIR No. 30/12) registered by the Khichiwala Police Station, Ansar Ali Shah, a local prayer leader of Chak 170 /7R Colony, alleged that Shamim’s neighbours Hamad Ahmed Hashmi and Abdul Qayyum had told him and other Muslims that they had heard the Christian woman blaspheming while standing in her courtyard.
As the allegation against Shamim spread, a large number of villagers besieged her house and demanded “severe punishment” for her as she had hurt their religious sentiments.