New findings in blasphemy case

Published Dec 11, 2012 03:29am

People shout slogans during a protest rally in Lahore on Jan 9, 2011, against a proposed amendment in the blasphemy laws. — Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD, Dec 10: The accused facing blasphemy charges was handed over to the Industrial Area police on physical remand for four days on Monday, police said.

The man was accused by Sheikh Usman, his nephew, for publishing blasphemous books.

Station House Officer (SHO) of Industrial Area police station Inspector Lal Din told Dawn that the accused was produced in the court of civil judge Malik Naseer Kakar and after hearing the arguments, the judge gave police his custody.

The SHO, who is assisting the superintendent of police (SP) Industrial Area in the investigation, said that the wife of the accused and her brother had also been nominated in the FIR (first information report) in response to the complaint lodged by Sheikh Usman.

The wife and her brother were nominated for cooperating with the accused in publishing the books.

However, the SHO said: “The investigators are verifying and investigating the involvement of the two nominated people before taking action against them.”

Similarly, the investigators also approached the publishers to verify whether they printed the books or not, the SHO said, adding that the reply was still awaited.

The books were published by two different printing presses, one located in Blue Area, the SHO said.

“It is not clear if the books have actually been printed by publishers or are computer prints,” the inspector added, expressing confusion.

The SHO further said during interrogation, the accused denied having committed blasphemy and claimed that the complainant with the help of a woman took the soft copy of his books from his house about 45 days ago. Later the woman started blackmailing the accused, the SHO added.

The police seem reluctant to disclose the identity of the woman.

“The woman disappeared and the claim of the accused is yet to be verified,” Inspector Din said, adding that the investigators were trying to trace the woman to interrogate her and verify the claim of the accused.

The complainant, Usman, told Dawn that he lodged the complaint against his paternal uncle after he found out that he planned to publish his books abroad.

Usman claimed that last month his uncle lodged a complaint against him and his wife, alleging that they were behind the theft of the soft copies of his books. The uncle also filed a petition in the district and sessions court last month, seeking registration of the case against his nephew after the police refused to entertain his complaint.

Usman denied that neither there was any monetary dispute involved nor was he trying to defame his uncle.

On the other hand, the SHO Industrial Area said preliminarily investigation suggested that the accused had a monetary dispute of Rs500,000 with Usman’s father for the last five to six years.

Over the dispute, the accused also filed a defamation case against his nephew demanding Rs50 million. The matter is in the civil court, the SHO added.

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