For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser or Download our App.

Pakistan: Cops Rescue Woman Hounded for 'Blasphemy' Over Dress With Arabic Calligraphy Prints

As per the police, the mob alleged that the woman's dress had "Quranic verses".

New Delhi: A woman in Ichra Bazaar in Lahore, Pakistan was hounded by a mob on Sunday, February 25, alleging she had committed blasphemy since she was wearing a dress with Arabic calligraphy. Eventually, the local police managed to rescue and take her from the crowded area, as per a Dawn report.

As per the report, the episode occurred when the woman visited a shop with her husband and a man from the locality asked her to change her clothes and other people joined him “considering it a religious matter” and charged the women for wearing a shirt which they assumed had “Quranic verses”.

Notably, some shopkeepers defended the woman and sheltered her in a shop and even tried clarifying to the mob that the word in her dress was just an Arabic calligraphy print.

“At 1:30 pm, we received a call that a blasphemous act took place near Pakistan Chowk in the jurisdiction of Ichra,” Gulberg Circle ASP Shehr Bano was quoted by Dawn. “The caller chose to stay anonymous and just mentioned that a woman was wearing a dress with calligraphy that, God forbid, seemed to be Quranic verses.”

In a viral video clip, the woman is seen shivering with fear and hiding in a shop as the mob surrounded her.

Watch | What is the History of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law?

As per the Dawn report, the police officers refuted the blasphemy allegations and underlined that the word ‘Halwa’ written in Arabic calligraphy on the dress the girl was wearing was not a holy word.

“The meaning of the word is literally sincerity, love, goodness, life, humanity,” Bano said.

In a press conference, the ASP underlined that the police found it difficult to transport the woman from the shop to the police vehicle since the area was crowded and congested which prevented them from taking their vehicle inside the market.

Further, the police had to swiftly act as the shop opposite the one where the woman was supposedly being kept safe had a burning stove and the police feared the shop could be set ablaze if the people mobilised, as per the Dawn report.

“At that time, our survival instinct kicked in that we need to get the woman out of here. We arranged a burqa, covered her face and told people not to take the law into their hands,” Bano was quoted by Dawn.

While taking the woman away from the crowd, the police also informed the angry mob about the concept of verification in Islam and assured that prompt action would be taken if a blasphemous incident had taken place, as per the report.

Bano refused to reveal the woman’s identity to the media.

Mob lynchings in Pakistan 

As per a 2021 United States Commission on International Religious Freedom report, the instances of mob violence and criminal charges over religious issues are more common in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world.

Also read: Protests, Death Threats Against Pakistan Chief Justice As Bail Granted To Blasphemy Accused

According to Pakistan’s blasphemy law, “derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet [Muhammad] either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Several instances of mob lynchings have been reported over the years in the south asian country. In last February, for instance, hundreds reportedly took a blasphemy suspect from his cell in a police station and lynched him in the eastern Punjab province. In 2011, governor of Punjab Salman Taseer was assassinated by a member of his own security detail for his opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

Make a contribution to Independent Journalism
facebook twitter