A Christian female security guard was threatened by a government employee of being implicated in a fake blasphemy case after she stopped a car at an airport warehouse in Karachi on Thursday, Jan 5.
According to footage of the incident at Jinnah International Airport’s cargo area, the row occurred over the female security officer reprimanding the man for allowing an acquaintance’s vehicle through security without a vehicle pass.
The man allegedly threatens the Christian female officer with blasphemy accusations, saying he will “call preachers … I am mad and will cut [you] up”. The female officer can be heard calling the man out for threatening her with blasphemy allegations and daring him to register a blasphemy case against her.
Footage of the incident quickly circulated on social media, inviting criticism and condemnation.
Responding to the incident, a statement issued by the Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson on Saturday said the row occurred on Thursday and officials were aware of the matter.
The statement said that as per the initial investigation, the CAA employee S* was dismissed from service and a detailed investigation was ordered.
Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari took notice of the incident and urged the federal and provincial authorities to provide security to the female officer.
“It was shameful that the woman security in-charge was threatened with a blasphemy case when she performed her duty,” he said, demanding an inquiry into the incident.
“Accusation of blasphemy is a very dangerous act,” Zardari said, adding that certain elements wanted to defame Pakistan under the pretext of religion.
“The government and the people must discourage such thinking.
“If the accusation against the female security officer is proved false, the accuser should be severely punished,” the PPP leader demanded.
Former senator Farhatullah Babar called on the authorities to take notice of the incident and lauded the female security officer’s handling of the situation.
Meanwhile, human rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir said the accuser should be apprehended and prosecuted for “making such threats to a government officer” and rued the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)’s honour being reduced to a “tool to be used for convenience”.
Blasphemy accusations in Pakistan often provoke mob violence and lynching of suspects, while penalties are light for those who make such false accusations.
Lahore-based Center for Social Justice noted that at least 1,949 persons had been accused under the blasphemy laws between 1987 and 2021.
Eighteen more cases were reported till July 14, 2022. The victims included 47.62 percent Muslims, followed by 32.99 percent Ahmadis, 14.42 percent Christians, and 2.15 percent Hindus, while the religion of 2.82 percent is not confirmed.
Church leaders and rights activists say that subordinate courts capitulate to pressure, resulting in convictions in almost all blasphemy cases.