A Christian man was arrested under Section 295/B of the Pakistan Penal Code in the district of Shahdara on Monday 5th December. Shadara Police, responded to a demonstration that involved the burning of tyres at Shahdra Chowk on Pakistan's famous Grand Trunk (GT) Road- an historic main artery for travel through the whole of south Asia.
The mob estimated at around 1000 people blocked GT Road for approximately three hours demanding that the victim Khurram Masih be charged of a blasphemy stating he had burned pages of the Holy Quran. They wielded sticks and threatened great violence damaging vehicles and Shahdra Police Station. Senior officers from the precinct went to the scene and promised to arrest the suspect.
A FIR was registered against Khurram Masih the main complainant was a Mr Zulfiqar Ali. On Wednesday 7th December Mr Masih was produced before a judicial magistrate and remanded in judicial custody.
A mob of about a thousand people wielding sticks took to GT Road at Shahdara Chowk and blocked traffic with burning tyres on both sides of the road.
The FIR report states Mr Masih lives with his wife in a rented property in Majeed Park, Shahdara Town. On Monday his neighbour, also a tenant, told the property owner, Zulfiqar Ali, that the couple had burnt pages of the Holy Quran to light a fire to make tea.
He also told people in the neighbourhood and they began gathering outside the property and chanting slogans.
The couple fled to the house of a nearby relative.Ali, the complainant, told The Express Tribune that he had visited the house after hearing of the incident and had seen burnt pages with Arabic verses on them, from a Quranic reader (qaeda). He said he had helped trace down the couple at their relative’s house and had them arrested.
“I had no choice,” he said. “Things were getting out of hand. I do not know where all the protestors came from.”
He said that only Masih had been arrested because he had made the tea, as his wife was asleep at the time.
Inspector Mian Shafqat Ali, who is in charge of the investigation, said that it had been established that the accused had burnt Quranic pages “intentionally”. He said that Masih’s wife had been released after interrogation as she had no role in the incident.