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Two Pakistani non-Muslim boys arrested under the blasphemy law

Two Pakistani non-Muslim boys have been arrested under the blasphemy law for allegedly burning swept papers containing Quranic verses.

A case was registered on September 28 at Bunga Dhongha, police starting in Bahawalnagar under blasphemy law section 295 B for desecrating the Holy Quran or its contents against Christian Vishal Masih and Hindu Bhola Ram.

Both Vishal and Bhola are employed by the Civil Hospital, Dunga, Bhongha, Bahawalnagar as cleaners.

The complainant is a policeman who claims he received a phone call from a local journalist about the incident.

He was told that Vishal and Bhola had burnt government records at Civil Hospital, Dunga, Bhongha, District Bahawalnagar including some pages containing Quranic verses.

The complainant claims that the incident unfolded on September 27, 2017.

He also claims that the incident was brought to the notice of a doctor of the Civil Hospital who filed a complaint at the police station, however, withheld the information about the burning of Quranic verses.

Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK said the blasphemy law has become an instrument of state oppression against minorities.

He added: “Unfortunately the misuse of the blasphemy law continues to rise and because of the inadvertence of the government and politicians it has become a very sensitive matter in Pakistan especially for religious minorities.

“The police registered a case against someone without investigation and verbal statements are considered enough evidence to register a case against anyone.

“This incident requires proper investigation into the case before registration, and the policeman is not an eyewitness.

“Since both boys are illiterate, and don’t know how to read and write, how can they be charged with committing blasphemy?

“The police needs to investigate those who provided those documents to be burnt, those people must be named in the FIR. It is also important to ask the complainant or eyewitnesses why they didn’t stop the burning and what those Quranic verses were.”

Mr Saeed said the government must ban printed or handwritten Quranic verses on office stationary unless it is really necessary and there is no legislation needed to do this.

He demanded that the government issue such directives, without delay, to save innocent people’s lives.

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