Islamabad [Pakistan], August 8 (ANI): Pakistan Police have arrested three people under controversial blasphemy law for allegedly desecrating the holy Quran in Abbottabad and Havelian.
In the first incident, a transgender person identified as Qaiser Zada, a resident of Swabi, was arrested on Thursday after he was allegedly caught by locals near the Jinnah Bagh in Abbottabad city while burning a copy of the holy Quran, Dawn reported.
He was beaten up by the people and was later handed over to the police.
The police registered FIR against the accused under Section 295-B and later produced him before the judicial magistrate, who remanded him for three days.
In the other incident, the police arrested two brothers – Asif Fareed and Abdullah Fareed – when locals allegedly caught them while burning pieces of Quran and other Islamic material.
The alleged blasphemers had collected the pieces from the tin boxes affixed to poles on the roadside.
The two were also booked under Section 295-B on the complaint of local elders and ulema. The blasphemy law was introduced through Sections 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code during the dictatorial regime of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.
Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law carries an automatic death penalty for anyone convicted of insulting God, Islam, or other religious figures.
Many members of the minority communities in Pakistan – the Ahmadis, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs were charged with draconian blasphemy law. Many of them are languishing in jails on the false charges of disrespecting the Quran.
Pakistan’s blasphemy law was criticised by human rights groups who say they are often used maliciously and to persecute religious minorities in the Muslim majority country.
Pakistan has been repeatedly slammed by the international community for not taking stringent measures to protect its minority communities, despite the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan vowing to protect them on numerous occasions.
According to the Pakistani advocacy group Centre for Social Justice, between 1987 and 2017, an estimated number of 1,549 people have been charged under the draconian blasphemy law; for comparison, before 1986, only 14 cases have been reported.
More than 70 cases of extrajudicial killings by vigilantes of those accused of blasphemy have taken place since the 1980s till the present day, the think tank stated.
On May 12, the 2020 report International Religious Freedom released by the US Department of State highlighted a downward spiral of religious expression in Pakistan, most notably in the form of blasphemy laws, punishment for which ranges up to the death penalty. (ANI)