Pakistan

Pakistan police arrests Christian blasphemy accused from hiding

LAHORE: Pakistani police said Saturday they have arrested a Christian man who went into hiding after being accused of committing blasphemy.

Qaisar Ayub was arrested in the eastern city of Lahore and is being held in a police station in Talagang town, around 300 kilometres (186 miles) southeast, where a case was registered against him three years ago.

“We are investigating the accused over blasphemy charges filed against him in 2011,” local police official Khurram Hussain told AFP, adding Ayub was shifted to Talagang days after he was arrested in his native Lahore.

Ayub, who in his 40s, was accused of posting blasphemous messages on a Christian website that he was moderating.

“In 2011, a local resident of Talagang filed an application with the police accusing Ayub of using derogatory language against the prophet of Islam on his website”, Hussain said.

The policeman said the accused, a computer science graduate, went into hiding after the case was filed against him.

“The accused was declared absconder by a session court in Talagang in 2012 and since then the police has been searching for the accused”, Hussain said.

Mobeen Ahmed, another senior police official, confirmed his arrest.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob retribution.

Those who take part in violent attacks are rarely if ever prosecuted — a fact not lost upon the relatives of the deceased.

On November 4, a Christian bonded labourer and his pregnant wife were beaten by a mob of 1,500 people then thrown on top of a lit furnace in a crazed reaction to rumours they had thrown pages of the Koran into the garbage.

The horrific incident sparked outrage and protests across Pakistan. Police have arrested more than 40 suspects. -AFP

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