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Pakistan: Christian man accused of blasphemy

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Pakistan: Christian man accused of blasphemy

In another incident, a young Christian man was accused of blasphemy, but the timely intervention of the local police controlled the situation and helped maintain peace.

On 19 April, Imran Masih, 25, a Christian man from Chak 44 of Mandi Bahauddin, Punjab province, showed a video clip of a wedding ceremony in his mobile phone to his Muslim colleagues; Manzoor Ahmed, Mohsin Ali, Bilal Ahmed and Iftekhar Ahmed(computer operator) at Bosal Rural Health Center. Later, he left his mobile with his colleagues and went to conduct work in the same premises. In his absence, his colleagues started to browse through his mobile and found a lecture of a Pakistani Christian preacher, Sami Samson, who now lives abroad. In their view, it was provocative, so they blamed Imran for uploading an ‘anti-Islamic’ video from YouTube. They beat him up severely and looked him up in a room. However, some local Christians rescued him. After his release, Imran broke on his mobile phone and ran away to save his life.

Iftekhar, who is from the same village as Imran, informed the local Muslims of the incident. Amir Yaqoob, a Christian resident of the village, made a phone call to the police, informing them that he heard that the local Muslims community were discussing the Christian community in the village mosque. Mandi Bahauddin District Police Officer Raja Basharat immediately deployed police for the security of Christians.

Police asked the people, who were gathered at the mosque, to produce the ‘blasphemous’ video, but they could not produce it as they did not have the mobile phone of Imran.

Police formed a peace committee (three people from each community, Muslims and Christians), an attempt to restore peace in the village. There are only 36 houses of Christians in the above-mentioned Muslim dominated village. Majority of the Christians are poor and work as agriculture workers. Because of the threat, 15 Christian families left the village after the tension, but they come back as the situation improved. According to the local Christians, the situation is back to normal now. However, about 20 police men currently remain in the village to avoid any unfortunate incident.

Aftab Alexander Mughal is the editor of the Minority Concern of Pakistan magazine and former National Executive Secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of Pakistan.

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Aftab Alexander Mughal is a Pakistani journalist and a human rights activist. He is the editor of Minorities Concern of Pakistan, an e-magazine, while he also heads the Asia desk of Spero News . For 14 years, he served the “Minority Rights Commission of Pakistan” and “Justice and Peace Commission of Pakistan” as National Director for Research and Publications and an Executive Secretary. From 1985 to 1992, he worked as Youth Director of Catholic Diocese of Multan, Pakistan. Born in 1956 in Muzaffargarh, Southern Punjab of Pakistan, Mughal has worked with many national and international civil society organizations. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science. He has widely travelled and represented Pakistan at regional and international conferences. He has been awarded the "International Award for Excellence in Journalism 2010" by the Union of Catholic International Press (UCIP) whose international office is in Geneva, Switzerland. The award was made at the World Congress, which was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, September 12 -19, 2010. This is Mughal's second award from UCIP. His first one being the "Media in Your Country Award" which he received on the October 20, 1989 in Ruhpolding Germany. Mughal started his career as a journalist in 1979 and edited the monthly magazines "Nishan-e-Rah" and "Mashal." until 1985. Since then he worked as a freelance journalist. His main area of interest is human rights, peace and religious freedom in Pakistan. He also has been contributing to national and international magazines, newspapers and various news agencies and has several books to his credit on minority rights issues including, “Death or Exile” and “From the Ashes of Shantinagar.” Moreover, he is also a co-author of “Section 295 C, Pakistan Penal Code – Study of the History, Effects and Cases under Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan.”

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