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Imam, two others held for attacking US Muslim

July 08, 2002

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FAISALABAD, July 7: Jaranwala police on Sunday arrested a Pesh Imam and two others for instigating villagers to kill an American Navy engineer on charges of blasphemy.

Faraz Jawed (30), an American by birth whose parents are settled is the US, is here to see his in-laws in Chak 111-JB, Jaranwala.

On Friday last, he visited the village mosque to offer Juma prayers and objected to the Pesh Imam’s political speech. At that time the Imam was cursing the Pakistan government and the Americans.

“Instead of blaming America, you should better tell us Islamic teachings,” Fraz reportedly asked the Imam.

The Pesh Imam did not like it. He asked people sitting in the mosque to kill Faraz. “He is also an American and enemy of the Muslims.”

Faraz managed to escape from the mosque with his relative Mohammad Naeem. After the Juma prayers, Imam Hafiz Abdul Latif called village elders and asked them to punish Faraz.

Over four dozen people reportedly attacked Naeem’s house where Faraz was present. Some of the attackers were also carrying iron rods, sticks and lethal weapons.

Naeem locked the doors and immediately informed the area police. A police party rushed to the scene and prevailed upon the mob on the assurance that Fraz would be proceeded against for committing blasphemy.

The mob dispersed after pelting stones on the house which damaged windowpanes.

In the meantime, Faraz Jawed reportedly contacted the US embassy in Islamabad. The embassy reportedly took immediate note and asked the government to save the life of its national.

The Jaranwala police registered two cases against Imam of the mosque, Hafiz Abdul Latif, on charge of creating law and order problem in the area and instigating the religious feelings of the people and attacking the house of Faraz family. The cases against the Imam and a dozen villagers were registered under section 16 MPO and 295-A of Blasphemy Act, while the other case was registered under section 452 and 506 PPC.

The police arrested Hafiz Abdul Latif, Mohammad Asim, Zubair Usman and was making raids for the arrest of other accused involved in the incident.