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Pakistan: Rights group condemns brutal attack, 'false' blasphemy accusation on Christian nurses

ANI | Updated: Apr 10, 2021 14:03 IST

Faisalabad [Pakistan], April 10 (ANI): A Pakistan-based right group has condemned a brutal attack on two Christian nurses, who were falsely accused of committing blasphemy.
They both were attacked while discharging their duties early this week.
The two Christian nurses identified as Mariam Lal (staff nurse) and Neush Arooj (student) have been charged for violating blasphemy law, which carries a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam.
A coworker head nurse Rukhsana alleged that nurses damaged the Islamic religious sticker which was hung on the cupboard.
"Muhammad Waqas, a dispenser in the same hospital attacked the nurses with a knife. Police reached and arrested both the nurses and they are in police custody now", said Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) in a statement.
Due to the mob pressure on April 9, 2021, police at the civil lines police station, Faisalabad registered an FIR under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code against the nurses on the complaint of Dr Muhammad Ali.
The 295-B mandates imprisonment for life for "defiling, etc, of a copy of the Holy Quran. Whoever willfully defile, damage or desecrate a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or use it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life".
The HRFP said their fact-finding team rushed to the hospital for immediate actions, talked with colleague nurses, staff of hospital, police and authorities and came to know the exact fact.
"HRFP raised and urged for victims, families, Christian nurses and community's immediate protection measures with the provision of legal actions", said HRFP in a statement.
Naveed Walter, president of HRFP, demands to repeal the blasphemy laws, ends up practices and charges on both nurses and ensures their safety and security.

He said, "The false allegations of blasphemy on both nurses have proved again the issues rooted to personal grudges, conflicts in workplaces and in communities".
He said the blasphemy charges affect not only individuals but the whole community.
Naveed Walter demands to bring the assailants to justice who attacked both nurses and falsely alleged and subjected them to violence looks clear through footage Muhammad Waqas claiming but still, there are no actions. He said the allegations have led to mob violence and extrajudicial killings.
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.
Citing a 2016 Amnesty International report, FRANCE 24 Observers reported that it is difficult to establish precise information on the number of blasphemy cases in Pakistan as there is limited available data.
However, according to figures compiled by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) and cited by Amnesty, at least 1,335 people were accused of blasphemy in Pakistan between 1987 and 2016.
According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, at least 40 people have convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan and they are currently facing life sentences or the death penalty.
Pakistan's population is comprised of 96 per cent Muslims. Although most of the people accused of blasphemy in the country are Muslims, minorities like Christians, Hindus, and Ahmadis (a persecuted sect of Islam that the government has legally declared "non-Muslim"), are disproportionately affected by these laws.
Although they make up about 3.8 per cent of the population, about 50 per cent of reported blasphemy cases are filed against them.
According to the NCJP, 633 Muslims, 494 Ahmadis, 187 Christians and 21 Hindus have been accused since 1987, reported FRANCE 24 Observers.
Moreover, Anneqa Maria, a lawyer in Pakistan who defends those accused of blasphemy, said that blasphemy law is often misused as a tool to settle grudges. (ANI)