Two more stories of blasphemy accusations or threats of the same - both with many typical features.
The first is in the town of Farooqabad, about 20 miles north-west of Lahore. Local police arrested Sajid Inayat, 20, a Christian after allegations that he burned pages of the Quran in a box. The charges came two days after a dispute with two Muslim boys over a snooker game, and the charge of willful desecration of the Quran carries a penalty of life-imprisonment. Those falsely accusing him were the Muslim boys in the original incident. As he went to work, they repeatedly accused him of setting fire to a box on a nearby pole, but he asked why he would do such a thing and walked on, saying they could do what they liked. When he left, the boys raised a mob of Muslims and started a ruckus. Several Christian families fled in fear of their lives, although local police and Muslim officials say none of the 20-25 Christian families in the area will be harmed.
BPCA publicly urges the police to deal quickly and dismiss this blatantly false case, as was the case in a recent incident near Gojra (see the last of the three stories on this page)
And in another case showing classically the situation in Pakistan for churches, local Christians were forced to apologize after a visiting preacher quoted from the Quran. The pastor was invited by a local teacher to speak at a mass in a village called Data Zedka, which is near Sialkot, a town about 20 miles northeast of Gujranwala.
However a local Islamic cleric came and disrupted the meeting, abusing and threatening to kill the pastor after he quoted verses from the Quran. He tried to physically attack the preacher himself, but the church members prevented him. He called the police to the church, and in the meantime the pastor fled for his life. The school teacher has apologized to the Islamic cleric, who is still demanding that the pastor return and publicly apologize over the loud speaker for quoting the Quran, or else there will be 'consequences'. This despite the Christian community sending women to the clerics wife and mother to apologize to try and avoid agitation by Muslims. The cleric has said his blood boiled when the pastor used Quranic verses to support a Christian point of view - and would have killed him on the spot if he had managed to get a weapon. The police have agreed to post a blasphemy case from the Cleric if the pastor doesn't come and apologize by the next day. It is unclear what has happened since then. The police appear to be trying to calm things down, albeit by the normal method of pressuring Christians to apologize and defer to the Muslims, but the cleric accused the police of being 'followers of the American agenda of protecting the Christians'.