Six women have been arrested and charged with blasphemy in Mirpur Khas, Sindh, on May 7, following a quarrel with local drug peddlers, according to a report.
According to the report, all six women, who are currently being held in the Hyderabad Central Jail, are residents of the Jhuddo area in Mirpur Khas. Two men from the area are also arrested in the same case.
The women reportedly had a quarrel with local drug peddlers who then attacked their houses. When the local police refused to register a First Information Report (FIR) against the drug peddlers, eight people, including six women and two men, staged a sit-in protest near the Jhudo–Tando Bago Bypass.
According to the report, the protesters were accused of torching a nearby hut that was set up by a local prayer leader for collecting donations for a madrassa (seminary). The cleric filed a complaint against the protesters for allegedly committing blasphemy and terrorism, saying they had burned a poster inscribed with sacred names and Quranic verses when they set the hut on fire.
The report quoted lawyer Mumtaz Khoso as saying that he had volunteered to defend the accused because they were poor and helpless. Khoso said the case against the accused was full of contradictions and he was hopeful that the court would acquit them from the charges.
Several people have been lynched or killed unlawfully over false accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan.
According to data collected by the Lahore-based Center for Social Justice and People’s Commission for Minorities Rights, at least 57 cases of alleged blasphemy were reported in Pakistan between January 1 and May 10, 2023, while four blasphemy suspects were lynched or extrajudicially killed during the same period.
The data reflects the period from January to May 10, 2023, with eight incidents occurring in January, a significant increase to 17 cases in February, seven cases in March, another surge to 19 cases in April, and six cases in May (up to the 10th), totaling 57 accused individuals.
Statistics showed that the highest number of blasphemy cases, 28, were reported in Punjab, followed by Sindh with 16, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with eight, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir with five.