Pakistani Christian couple arrested on blasphemy charges in Pakistan

Lahore: A Pakistani Christian couple has been arrested on blasphemy charges after ‘torn pages of Quran’ were recovered from the rooftop of their house and in the street in Lahore, police said on Sunday.

The couple — Shaukat Masih and Kiran Masih — are facing life imprisonment as they have been booked under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPP) which carries a life sentence for the desecration of the holy book.

The case has been registered against the Christian couple of Docage Town, Rangers Headquarters, Harbanspura Lahore on the complaint of a Muslim man, Mohammad Taimur, of the same area.

According to the FIR, Taimur said he was standing at a food shop of Docage Town Street on Friday when he found some pages of the Muslim holy book there.

“It appeared that the pages had been thrown from the roof of a house under which they were found. I knocked on the door and a woman named Kiran Masih opened the door. I showed her the torn pages of the Quran to her. She responded that her minor daughters — Sundas and Rubi, and son Sabir — might have thrown the pages. Taimur went to the rooftop of the house and found a pink colour bag with more pages of the Quran,” the FIR says.

The complainant then informed the police on the emergency number after which the North Cantonment police Station reached and arrested the suspects.

Police officer Mahmood Ahmad told PTI on Sunday that the police registered the blasphemy case against the Christian couple after the “torn pages of holy Quran” were found at their home and in the street.

“The couple’s three children could have also been booked after their mother alleged that they might have thrown the pages in the street. However, only Kiran and her husband have been booked under 295 B of PPC,” he said.

A police source told PTI that Shaukat Masih was not at home when the complainant accused Kiran of blasphemy on Friday midnight.

He said that when complainant Taimur accused the Christian family, the area people gathered there and police were called in which controlled the situation and immediately arrested Kiran.

Shaukat Masih was arrested later in the day, he said.

Last month, a mob of over 6,000 led by the radical Islamist party, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), attacked scores of churches and houses of Christians over blasphemy allegations in Jaranwala town of Faisalabad district, 130 km from Punjab’s provincial capital Lahore.

At least 21 churches and 86 homes of Christians were burnt down by the violent mob, however, no casualties were reported.

A Joint Investigation Team of police that probed the matter found that the incident was caused by a grudge between two Christian individuals and had nothing to do with the desecration of the Quran.

In Pakistan, most blasphemy cases are registered primarily to settle some grudges between the complainant and accused parties.

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