Two Pakistani Christians Jailed For "Desecrating" Koran; Family Flees

Monday, October 13, 2008

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife) -- Two Pakistani Christians, a father and his teenage daughter, remained jailed Sunday, October 12, on charges of blasphemy against Islam after a local court refused to release them on bail, their legal representatives told BosNewsLife.

The man, identified only as Gulsher and his 18-year-old daughter Sandal were detained Thursday, October 9 by police in Punjab province under controversial blasphemy legislation as local residents complained they had “committed sacrilege of the Koran” seen as a holy book by Muslims, said the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), a major advocacy and political group.

APMA investigators said the troubles began when the seven year old son of Gulsher "brought home a plastic bag from the street where he was playing. The child gave the bag to his elder sister Sandal, who found that the bag contained torn pages of the Koran."

She reportedly went to her neighboring female Muslim friend, asking her to give the bag to the local cleric. However her friend apparently "nursed grudge for Gusher’s family and alleged that Gulsher and Sandal had committed Koran's sacrilege," APMA added.


Word on the alleged sacrilege reached Muslim clerics, who made announcements from mosques to "further incite the already angry Muslims to attack Gulsher and his family,”"APMA said.

An APMA lawyer tried to get them released on bail, but a local court refused, sending them instead to the the district jail of the city of Faisalabad, investigators said, adding that the decision may have been made under pressure. "A large number of Muslim mob was present outside the court. The mob raised slogans against the accused in a bid to pressurize the magistrate," APMA said.

Bhatti's organization has been assisting and defending the several Christians accused of blasphemy, including a man only identified as Dr. Robin. who was detained on charges of "passing derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad in May this year." APMA said it has “appealed for prayers for the protection and release of Gulsher and his daughter,” and that is legal team would continue to fight for their release in court.

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