Pakistani Christian, Farhan Aziz, 25, of Muslim Town, Gujranwala was charged under blasphemy law 295 – C of Pakistan Penal Code and section of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 10 (a) (b) on August 2.
Farhan is accused of sending blasphemous text messages. He was arrested by the Gujranwala police and sent to jail.
But according to him and other close friends and family members, while the phone used to send blasphemous text messages was registered to him, he had bought that phone and sim card for his girlfriend Tania and was in her possession.
It is claimed that Farhan has been implicated in this case because Tania’s family, including her brother Shamoun, did not want her to see him anymore.
Tania and Farhan wanted to get married but Tania’s family didn’t like the relationship and had her engaged to someone else. Farhan was told to stay away from Tania.
Tania’s family had borrowed some money from Farhan and when he demanded it back, they threatened him and got involved a local Imam – who is a close friend of Shamoun’s to teach him lesson
According to Farhan’s family, Shamoun and the Imam made a plan to implicate Farhan with the support of Tania, who told Farhan she was unhappy with her engagement and asked him to buy her a phone to so she could stay in contact with him.
The local Imam and Shamoun knew the sim was registered to Farhan so they used the phone to send blasphemous texts to their friends and family members to implicate Farhan.
The text messages infuriated their Muslim friends and the news spread all over Muslim Town, enraging the local Muslims and members of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, the group who shut down Islamabad for several weeks earlier last year to punish an alleged blasphemer.
According to the local Pastor, Pastor Allah Rakha of Presbyterian Church, Muslim Town, the angry mob was gathered around holding steel rods and petrol gallons to set fire to the Christians’ houses but the police managed to control the situation and Christian families vacated their homes to save their lives.
Despite Farhan’s imprisonment, local Muslims are still demanding for him to be presented to them so they can punish (hang) him themselves.
Shamoun Masih has also been taken into police custody because he is believed to be involved in sending blasphemous texts using the phone.
“The influence of a given religion in a nation ought never to mean that citizens of another religion can be subject to discrimination in social life or, even worse, that violence against them can be tolerated.”...
- Pope Emeritus Benedict
“There is a very clear sense that people are nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a tool of politics or “…a mob thing […] ” he added, flanked by two Pakistani bishops. He earlier told reporters: “Equality under the law is important…”...
- Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
“The law for punishing blasphemy against the Prophet (sws) that is invoked in Pakistan has no foundation in the Qur'ān or Hadith.”...
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Renowned Quranic scholar & Islamic modernist theologist
“The problem is not so much the idea of a law against blasphemy, as about a law whose penalty is so severe and whose practice gives so much scope for allowing people to settle private scores.” ...
- Dr Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury