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Three Pakistani Christians charged with blasphemy

According to a recent report, three young Christians in northeastern Pakistan have been charged with blasphemy after local Muslims alleged that pages of the Quran had been burned near some Christian homes to hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.


Police charged the three Christians, identified as Azeem Mehmood, Abbas Gulshan, and Irfan Saleem, from a village named Kotli Muhammad Sadique in Punjab Province’s Narowal district, on the 30th of December, the U.K.-based group Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, known as CLAAS, learned recently.

A court sent Mehmood, who is a member of the Pakistani Army, to judicial custody. At the same time, it granted bail to the other two Christians, CLAAS said in a statement, adding that while Mehmood was arrested on Christmas day, whilst Gulshan and Saleem were arrested on the 29th of December.

After the Christmas service, when the congregation of United Presbyterian Church was holding a procession around the church, a large number of policemen arrived. An officer said they had received a complaint that some people had burned pages of the Quran and they were there to investigate the matter.

Some local Muslims who were standing near the church took the police to an ash pile near the homes of Christians. There are about forty Christian houses near the church.

Local Christians believe that police tortured Ilyas Masih to force him to admit to seeing all three Christians’ faces so that the arrests could be made to placate area Muslims.

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