A former schoolteacher in Battagram has been arrested and sent to jail on Tuesday after he was accused of posting offensive religious remarks on the internet.
According to a report, the suspect was remanded in judicial custody due to alleged objectionable statements regarding the companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
The First Information Report [FIR] was registered against the accused under sections 295A, 298A and 153A of the Pakistan Penal Code for a deliberate attempt to cause outrage, enmity, and hatred among the community by insulting religious beliefs and disrespect shown towards the Prophet’s wives, family, and companions.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sajid Nawaz identified the accused as a CT schoolteacher who retired in 2016. The suspect’s son has claimed that his father is a devout Muslim, and these allegations were shocking even to him. He said that his father’s social media accounts were hacked by an unknown person who then posted the sacrilegious content.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations can stir mobs and violence.
In February, an angry mob entered a police station in Nankana Sahib district, snatched a person accused of blasphemy from his cell, and killed him.
In December 2021, a Sri Lankan national, Priyantha Diyawadanage, who was working as a factory manager in Sialkot city, was beaten to death and set ablaze by an angry crowd over allegations of blasphemy.
International and Pakistani rights groups say accusations of blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores. Pakistan’s government has long been under pressure to change the country’s blasphemy laws, but other political forces in the country have strongly resisted.
According to the Centre for Social Justice, a Lahore-based research and advocacy group, more than 2,000 people have been accused of committing blasphemy since 1987, and at least 88 people have been killed by mobs after similar allegations.
Rights groups say hundreds of people are languishing in prison accused of blasphemy as judges delay trials, fearing retribution against themselves.