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Christian man from Lahore accused of a blasphemy after torn shreds of the Koran were found with his name written on them!


A Christian named Shahbaz Babu has been man arrested from his town of Kamahan village, Lahore and charged for desecrating a Quran under section 295B of the Pakistan Penal Code.  

The incident occurred on 30th December 2016 after a Muslim Man by the name of Haji Nadeem reported the crime, resulting in detainment of Mr Babu at Nishtar Police Station.  Later Mr Babu was transferred to Model Town Police Station in one of Lahore's affluent districts for his protection as fears of a possible mob attack arose.

Mr Babu now faces a potential death sentence under one of Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws.  The First Incident Report (FIR) produced by the Police alleges that Mr Babu's name was found written on Quranic pages that had been liberally scattered on the street of a Muslim Peer Baba Gujjar.

No eye witnesses have come forward stating they saw Mr Babu writing on these Quranic pages, a crime which is found to be more absurd because Mr Babu is totally illiterate and does not know how to write his own name.

BPCA's Naveed Aziz travelled to the town of Mr Babu and met with his family and friends.  They all believe the blasphemy allegation has been laid against Mr Babu because of a rivalry between the primary complainant Mr Nadeem and Mr Babu's brother George Masih.  Apparently George Masih owns a thriving grocery shop and Mr Nadeem has held a long term desire to own the shop for himself.

Babu Shahbaz, 41, is himself a resident of Village Kamahan, Lahore, and is married with one daughter and two sons. He has been evangelizing for the past 15 years, he does not have a church building but organizes healing and prayer meetings at his home. Christians and many Muslims attend his services for healing and blessings and many of those Muslims were contemplating converting to Christianity his family told BPCA.. It has also been alleged that Muslim Peer Baba Pola Gujjar has seen a significant reduction in his followers after many started attending the healing and prayer sessions at Mr Babu's house. This animosity is said to be another trigger for false allegation of blasphemy laid against Mr Babu.

Haji Nadeem, Peer Baba Gujjar and some other local Muslims have been seething over the growing popularity of Mr Babu. Friends told us that for the last few years often Mr Babu has been implicated in false cases of blasphemy. It seems that Local Police ignored all this important history and followed through on an arrest based on the flimsiest of evidence.  A common malpractice by local constabularies after a blasphemy case is alleged..

In the FIR Mr Nadeem has alleged that while he was travelling to his local mosque in the morning at fajr,  he found torn pages of the Quran with the name of "Shahbaz Babu" written on them, strewn across the floor. Believing that only the culprit could have written his name on the torn shreds of the Quran, he reported the crime to local police.

The Christian community however finds it bizarre  that a Christian man  would desecrate the Quran in secret and then leave visible evidence of a crime that has a death sentence by writing his name on the vandalized scriptures. An observation that seems to have been missed by local police and Muslims who are now threatening local Christians with violence.

Extra police officers have been deployed to protect the peace in the village of Kamahan, however many Christians have already fled the area and many local shops and churches were found with shutters down.

Major Nathaniel Sahid, from  the Salvation Army Church in Kamahan, said:

"Local Christians are terrified, we are getting threats from local Muslim men that are community will be attacked. If we leave our homes will be robbed, if we stay we could get beaten, robbed or even killed. It is sad that a petty jealousy can lead to such hatred and the persecution of innocent people."

Local people refused to have photographs taken due to fear of repercussions.

Naveed Aziz, BPCA's Lahore based officer, said:

"Rather than dismiss a somewhat frivolous case and inquiring into the allegations, it would seem Nishtar Town police under duress from a local Muslim mob registered the FIR and arrested Shahbaz Babu.  Sadly since his arrest no-one has been allowed to meet with Mr Babu including his family family. We are all praying for a transparent investigation into this alleged blasphemy, in which all rights and safety of Shahbaz Babu are made a priority. I have already spoken with the SP of the area, Model Town, who has assured me that Police would undertake a fair investigation, however initial steps undertaken by the Police gives me little confidence."

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA. said:

"This latest blasphemy case highlights the little progress made by the Government of Pakistan towards improving the rights of minorities under their protection. Wholly biased laws such as the notorious blasphemy laws of Pakistan have no place in egalitarian modern democracies, suggesting that the nation has moved forward little from its feudal past.

"In every blasphemy case in Pakistan common-sense flies out of the window as a corrupt and incredibly inadequate police force goes about it's business with prejudice and avarice.

"While many of us celebrated the hope that a new year brings in the freedom of the west, the plight of Christians in Pakistan is once again proven to be one that is fraught with danger. Britain and the US have both maintained Pakistan as their largest foreign aid recipient for over a decade. The influence this provides them should be used as a lever to bring hope to minorities, instead it seems only to prolong the horror that Christians and other minorities face.

"Asia Bibi and 16 year old Nabeel Masih faced Christmas behind bars praying that their death sentences will be lifted from them. However in a country where national curriculum text books espouse hate ideology against minorities that creates such a palpable animosity, their hope must be waning thinner by the day. Pray for Pakistan."

Please sign our petition calling for termination of Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws (click here)

British Pakistani Christian Association, hopes to raise funds to support the legal battle and to provide a safe home for the family of Mr Babu.  If you would like to donate to this work please
(click here)

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