False accusations are often used by the majority Muslim community against minority Hindu, Sikh and Christian members over trivial matters as a means of persecution.
9 January, 2023
On Monday, January 9, a video went viral on Twitter wherein a Pakistani government employee could be heard threatening a Christian woman with a false blasphemy case over a parking dispute. The incident reportedly took place in the Jinnah International Airport’s cargo area in Karachi on Thursday, January 5, 2023.
According to reports, the man threatening the woman works for the Civil Aviation Authority in Pakistan and goes by the name Saleem. The woman’s name is Samina Mushtaq, and she works for the CAA as well.
According to the CCTV footage of the incident, the fight erupted after a female security official reprimanded the man for allowing his acquaintance’s vehicle through security without a vehicle pass. When the woman confronted the man, who identified himself as a government employee, he began threatening her that he would “call the maulanas” and get her booked for insulting Islam and the Prophet.
In the video, the man is heard saying, “If you don’t let my car go, I will accuse you of blasphemy, will call mullahs and we will cut you into pieces.” The female officer retaliated by asking the Pakistani official to give her in writing that he wants her to let all the cars go. The woman proceeded to dare him to go ahead and register a blasphemy case against her.
In response to the incident, a Civil Aviation Authority representative stated on Saturday that officials were aware of the situation.
According to the statement, the CAA employee was fired after the initial probe, and a thorough investigation was ordered.
Persecution of minorities in Pakistan under the pretext of blasphemy
Blasphemy is often used in Pakistan to settle personal scores and intimidate minority communities including Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs. Several such cases have led to the lynching and persecution of people belonging to the minority community in Pakistan.
On November 23 last year, a Sindhi Hindu boy identified as Love Kumar Meghwad, a resident of Sindh Province in Pakistan, was arrested by the Police for alleged blasphemy. As per social media posts, Love used ‘Mola’ instead of Bhagwan in a Facebook post while addressing God.
Prior to this, on August 21, a large mob of Islamists laid siege on the house of a Hindu sanitary worker after they falsely accused him of desecrating the Quran. The incident took place in the Saddar area of Hyderabad in Pakistan. However, no action was taken against the mob that carried out violence and vandalism to ‘avenge’ blasphemy.
Similarly in February 2022, a Pakistan court sentenced Notan Lal, a Hindu teacher, to life imprisonment on the charges of blasphemy. Lal, owner, and principal of a private school was accused of ‘insulting’ Prophet Muhammad during an Urdu class as accused by a student named Muhammad Ihtisham who later said he had lied.
Unfortunately, cases like those mentioned above are very common in Pakistan. In fact, on January 26, 2022, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported that at least 89 people have been killed in the country since 1947 over blasphemy charges. Furthermore, 1,415 people (both men and women) have been accused of blasphemy since 1947. Out of these, 1,287 people were accused of blasphemy from 2011-21.