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Pakistan: New blasphemy case against Christian nurses

Tuesday 13 April 2021, by siawi3

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1617348

Blasphemy case registered against two nurses in Faisalabad

Saleem Mubarak

Published April 10, 2021

Police have registered a case against two nurses of the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital on the charge of committing blasphemy. — AP/File

FAISALABAD: Police have registered a case against two nurses of the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital on the charge of committing blasphemy.

Scores of hospital employees staged a protest demonstration on Friday against the two nurses while alleging that both committed blasphemy by removing a sticker with sacred inscription from a cupboard.

Some of the unruly agitators attacked the police van parked inside the hospital to get custody of one of the nurses but the police locked her inside the van to keep her safe from the the protesters.

A police officer said it had been reported that two nurses committed blasphemy on Thursday by removing a sticker in a ward where psychiatric patients are being treated.

Deputy Medical Superintendent Dr Mohammad Ali submitted an application to the Civil Lines police claiming that the allegation of blasphemy had been proved by the hospital committee. He said the head nurse had taken the removed sticker into her custody and she apprised him of the issue on Friday.

The hospital administration called police who immediately took the nurse into protective custody so that she could be moved to a safer place. Scores of people tried to get hold of her but police kept her inside the van.

Anti-riot police and Elite Force tackled the situation and a team led by Civil Lines DSP Rana Attaur Rehman after hectic struggle succeeded to move her from the hospital premises.

Among the protesters were clerics who demanded action against the prime suspect.

Police booked both nurses under section 295-B of the PPC.

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Source: https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2021/apr/10/two-christian-nurses-booked-under-blasphemy-charges-in-pakistan-2288383.html

Two Christian nurses booked under blasphemy charges in Pakistan

The nurses are accused of removing the stickers inscribed with Islamic verses from the wall of a hospital ward where psychiatric patients are being treated.

Published: 10th April 2021 05:25 PM | Last Updated: 10th April 2021 05:25 PM

By PTI

LAHORE: Two Christian nurses have been booked under blasphemy charges in Pakistan’s Punjab province following a complaint by hospital authorities, police said, as people staged demonstrations against the duo demanding strict action against them.

According to police, an FIR has been registered against the two nurses, Mariyum Lal and Newish Arooj, working in District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital, Faisalabad, on Friday on the complaint filed by Deputy Medical Superintendent Dr Mohammad Ali.

The nurses are accused of removing the stickers inscribed with Islamic verses from the wall of a hospital ward where psychiatric patients are being treated.

Deputy Medical Superintendent Ali claimed that blasphemy charges have been proved against the two nurses by the hospital committee which probed the matter.

He said the “removed sticker inscribed with Islamic verses” is in the possession of the head nurse of the hospital.

Hospital employees staged a demonstration against the two nurses and demanded strict action against them.

Local Muslim clerics also joined the protesters.

In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred.

Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynching.

Some of the protesters also attacked the police van parked inside the hospital to get the custody of one of the nurses but the police locked her inside the vehicle to keep her safe from the mob.

According to a police official, anti-riot police and Elite Force were called in to handle the situation.

"As the mob had surrounded the police van demanding handing over the nurse to them, more force was called in to push back the protesters.

After managing to disperse the mob by using a water cannon, police succeeded in moving the nurse from the hospital premises," the official said, adding the other nurse had already managed to leave the hospital.

Reacting to the development, the International Christian Concern (ICC) said both the Christian nurses have falsely been accused of committing blasphemy.

It alleged that the head nurse, Rukhsana, had a grudge against Mariyum Lal and she provoked other Muslim staffers of the hospital, claiming she desecrated wall hangings and a sticker that contained Quranic verses.

“In response, a Muslim staffer, Waqas, attacked Ms Lal with a knife as she was attending a patient in the hospital’s medical ward. She received several injuries to her arm but survived the attack,” it alleged.

Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws and their prescribed punishments are considered extremely severe.

People accused of blasphemy are usually deprived of the right to a counsel of their choice as most lawyers refuse to take up such sensitive cases.

The blasphemy laws are colonial-era legislation but they were amended by former dictator General Ziaul Haq which increased the severity of prescribed punishments.