Islamabad: Blasphemy accused arrested
ISLAMABAD: One was not expecting another blasphemy case springing up so soon after the courts acquitted a Christian girl, with a retarded mind, of the charge for lack of evidence. But it has, that too from a trader against his professor uncle with whom he has a dispute over property. On Sunday, the Industrial Area Police arrested the professor after a street protest over the area police station not registering an FIR, and will produce him before a court on Monday to seek his physical remand.
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police Khurram Rasheed, has been deputed as investigation officer of the case, Dawn has learnt.
It is worth mentioning that Sheikh Usman, a trader of Rawalpindi, accused his uncle, author of several books, of writing blasphemous comments in two of his books.
Usman also contacted clerics and local residents and on Saturday held a protest against the Industrial Area police because they initially refused to register an FIR against his uncle, who is a PhD scholar and came to Pakistan in 1987, after spending 12 years in the United States.
Police decided to send the application to the legal branch for seeking an opinion but on Sunday SP Khurram Rasheed got instructions from senior officers of his department to register the FIR.
However, the accused informed the police that he would voluntarily surrender because he had not done anything against the law.
Complainant, Sheikh Usman, who runs a shop of bedsheets on Benazir Bhutto Road, told Dawn that both books of his uncle have beenpublished and are available in the market.
“I learnt about the blasphemous comments, so I contacted Mufti Ismail and Mufti Mushtaq of Rawalpindi. Both agreed with me that the literature was blasphemous. So I filed an application against him but federal police were not willing to lodge an FIR. We had no choice but to hold a protest against the police,” he said.
While replying to a question about the property dispute, he said: “I don’t care about the property. I just know that my uncle was involved in blasphemy, which is not acceptable.”
Replying to a question, SP Khurram said: “The accused claims that there was a dispute of Rs50 million between him and his nephew but so far we do not have any proof.”
The SP also said that he did not know whether the professor (about 60 years old) was employed in any kind of profession or not. “Investigation in the case would start after seeking physical remand from the court,” he added.
Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Zohra Yousuf, told Dawn that she had learnt that there was a property dispute between the uncle and the nephew, so the police should have investigated the issue before lodging the FIR.
“There are so many incidents in which the law has been misused and usually the police claim that the suspect gets arrested for his own safety, which is totally wrong. Police should provide safety to suspects rather than arresting him,” she said.