January 30, 2011 4:33:04 pm
Pakistani police in the port city of Karachi have arrested a Muslim student under the country’s controversial blasphemy law for allegedly writing derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed in his examination answer sheets.
Muhammad Samiullah,an intermediate student,was arrested on Friday following a complaint from the Chief Controller of the Intermediate Board,who accused him of blasphemy. A case of blasphemy was registered against him at the Shahrah-e-Noor Jahan police station. “We got a complaint from the intermediate board that this student had violated the blasphemy law by writing derogatory remarks on his examination papers,” SSP Nazimabad Zafar Iqbal confirmed.
“We raided the house of the student and arrested him from Malir Halt. He has confessed he did write the derogatory remarks. He claims he did this after being instigated by two of his cousins who had come to Karachi for a visit from Oslo Norway,” the police official said.
He said since the cousins had already left the country and returned to Oslo their was nothing the Pakistani police could do against them.
The Chief Controller alleged that Samiullah,a resident of Mujtaba Colony in Malir Halt,violated the blasphemy law by writing “unacceptable remarks” against Prophet Mohammed in his answer sheets for three subjects.
Police obtained all of Samiullah’s answer sheets before taking him into custody. A challan or charge-sheet was presented in court and Samiullah was sent to custody. Samiullah also wrote a letter in which he admitted committing the mistake and sought forgiveness,Iqbal said.
Qudrat Sher Lodhi,an investigation officer for the case,told the Daily Times newspaper that Samiullah had told police that he was “brainwashed” by his cousins from Norway. Lodhi said Samiullah had no physical or mental illness and that further investigation was underway.
The controversial blasphemy law has been at the centre of a heated debate since last year,with liberals and rights activists claiming that it is misused to settle personal scores and persecute minorities.
Arrests and registration of cases under the blasphemy law have become more frequently in recent months with many Pakistani muslims being booked under the law besides minorities.
Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was gunned down earlier this month by a police guard who was angered by the politician’s opposition to the blasphemy law. The law has divided the nation with hardline religious and politico-religious parties all rallying for any amendments in the law.
The religious parties have held regular demonstrations and protests warning the government to stay clear of trying to amend the law which civil and human right groups says is generally misused in the country.