Two Christian women from a Pakistani village in the Sheikhupura district of Punjab province have reportedly been tortured by Muslim villagers, after which their faces were painted black and they were paraded around the town on donkeys.
The Pakistani Christian Post reported that the women, identified as Rukhsana and Rehana, were accused of committing blasphemy, which activists have said is a common way for the Muslim majority to oppress Christian and other minorities.
The two Christians apparently got into an argument with a Muslim woman who wanted to buy from their home a flex used as a carpet for a low price, to which the Christians refused. The Muslim woman then accused the Christians of committing blasphemy by pointing out that the carpet has images of Holy Books and Quran verses on it, which prompted a Muslim mob to beat the Christians and drag them out of their home. more >>
A 10-year-old boy in Pakistan was allegedly tortured with a stick by his Islamic school teacher after he refused to do construction work on a mosque in the Punjab province.
The Pakistani news site Dawn.com reported that the boy, named only as Tayyab, who is a student at Jamia Ishadal Quran seminary in the Noorpur village in the town of Pakpattan, was brutally beaten by an Islamic cleric until he passed out on Sunday.
Rozi Khan, Tayyab's father, told local media that he was alerted that his son was being physically assaulted when two of his son's classmates came to him and told him that Tayyab was being held by the cleric. more >>
As Christian mother of five Asia Bibi marks her sixth year in prison in Pakistan, placed on death row for blasphemy charges, a U.K. Christian group reports that some attempts are being made to reform sections of the country's controversial blasphemy laws that punish religious minorities. The group also believes that Britain and the U.S. must rethink the way they provide financial aid to Pakistan if they want to see reforms in the country.
"The proposed changes will ostensibly make it more difficult for blasphemy charges to be laid, focusing on proving that any blasphemy was intentional under a legal concept termed Mens Rea translated as 'guilty mind,'" Wilson Chowdhry, president of the British Pakistani Christian Association, told The Christian Post on Wednesday.
"However the large number of extra-judicial killings and insouciance from local police to get involved in blasphemy charges or a pattern of local police authorities cowing under pressure from mobs led by local imams, suggest this law change will have little effect." more >>
As Pakistani lawmakers consider legislation to reform the nation's corrupt blasphemy laws, Islamic clerics are bashing the government for even considering such an option, and are calling for the release of the murderer of the Punjab governor who advocated for blasphemy reform in 2011.
Asia News reports that 10 Muslim scholars and a former Pakistani judge gathered recently at a "seminar for protection of the prophet's dignity" and expressed their concern over the proposed legislation that is attempting to add the word "intention" to the nation's blasphemy law.
Speaking at the seminar was former Pakistani justice Mian Nazir Akhtar, who represents Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for referring to Pakistan's blasphemy law as a "black law." Akhtar bashed the proposed legislation and asserted that those who insult the Muslim prophet Muhammad deserve to be killed and "sent to hell." more >>
Pakistani Prison officials have confirmed that a Catholic death row inmate, who was tortured into confessing to three murders over 23 years ago when he was just 15 years old, was executed on Wednesday.
Aftab Bahadur, who was convicted of the 1992 killings of Sabiha Bari and her two sons, was hanged at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, but not before he had one last chance to proclaim his innocence.
"Aftab Bahadur was hanged at District Jail Lahore on Wednesday at 4.30 a.m.," an unnamed prison official told Reuters. "Before the hanging, he was crying and saying he was innocent." more >>
A massacre of Christians in Lahore, Pakistan, was prevented back in May partly due to three Muslim leaders standing up against other Islamic imams inciting a mass attack on Christians for alleged blasphemy. A total of 22 Muslims have so far been arrested in the incident.
Fides News Agency reported on Tuesday that Christian lawyers in the region are speaking out about the incident, which occurred on May 24. Local Christian man Humayun Faisal was accused of burning pages of the Quran, which is considered blasphemous, and has led to mob attacks on Christians in a number of cases.
Police saved Faisal from the lynching by arresting him, but Islamic protesters then turned their anger toward the Christian community in the neighborhood where the man lived. more >>