PAKISTAN: Christian staff nurse and gospel singer accused of committing blasphemy
By Nasir Saeed
CLAAS (28.01.2021) – https://bit.ly/2YDx2uL – A Christian staff nurse and gospel singer Tabita, 30, from Karachi has been accused of committing blasphemy.
On January 28, Tabita’s colleagues at Sobhraj Maternity Hospital, Karachi, where she has been working for the last nine years, accused her of committing blasphemy.
Before then there had been no such complaints against her.
According to reports Tabita had not said anything against the Islam or in the respect of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), but the whole issue was prompted up because of a misunderstanding between colleagues.
According to reports she was tied up with ropes and locked in a room before the police were called.
The police arrived and took Tabita with them to the police officers of Aram Bagh, police station, Karachi.
According to our colleagues the police of Aram Bagh handled the case wisely and during their careful and impartial investigation police found all charges against Tabita baseless.
The police found that Tabita had committed no blasphemy, but it was just misunderstanding between the colleagues.
The investigating officer cleared Tabita of blasphemy charges and allowed her to leave the police station safely without any further restriction.
We tried to speak to speak to Tabita, but she was so fearful, and she said she was not in the right state of mind to have a conversation.
She promised to explain the situation later on and has left her home and gone into hiding at an unknown place.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK has condemned the incidents and said it is a relief that the accusation against Tabita raised by her colleagues have been found to be baseless.
He added: “Unfortunately her life will never be the same again, as she has already left her home and gone into hiding. But the most important thing is that she is not charged under the blasphemy law, otherwise she would have had to spend the rest of her life in jail.”
Mr Saeed also praised the role of the police for their quick, fair and impartial investigation. He said the police have a basic and important role to determine whether blasphemy has been committed or if the accusations are fabricated just to settle personal scores.
Mr Saeed said: “Unfortunately, according to our own study, blasphemy laws continue to be misused by individuals to settle their personal scores. Last year alone nearly 60 people including nine Christians and forty-seven Muslims (40 from Shia community) were been charged with blasphemy, while at least three innocent people – one Christian, one from Ahmadiyya community, and one Muslim – have been killed by individuals.”
Criticising the government, he added that it is a need of the times to look into this matter to see how to stop the growing misuse of the blasphemy law against innocent people and bring changes where necessary.
Mr Saeed said the wording of the blasphemy law is so broad and vague that it has allowed a wide range of acts and its continuous misuse.
“As we saw last year senior politician and ex foreign minister Khawaja Asif was accused of committing blasphemy when he said all religions are equal.
“In another instance, a Pakistani academic, Arfana Mallah, had to tender an apology for hurting the sentiments of fellow Muslims and religious leaders for calling the blasphemy law a “black law”,” Mr Saeed said.
About CLAAS:Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) is an interdenominational organisation working for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Pakistan. CLAAS works for religious freedom, to stop persecution of Christians in Pakistan because of blasphemy and other discriminatory laws, raise awareness, disseminate information and highlight the plight of Christians on an international level. CLAAS provides free legal aid to victims of religious intolerance in Pakistan, as well as shelter and financial support for the victims and their families.
Credit Photo : Tabitha Nazir Gill with one of her burqa-clad attackers at Sobhraj Maternity Hospital in Karachi. (Photo supplied)