Misuse of Blasphemy Laws: A Christian Man threatened His family for Blasphemy

Farrukh Saif

June 24, 2024

Blasphemy laws

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan have long been a subject of controversy, frequently criticized for their misuse in settling personal vendettas. Traditionally, these laws have been weaponized against religious minorities, particularly Christians. However, the recent infiltration of these laws into internal Christian family disputes marks a new and alarming trend.

A Disturbing Incident in Okara District:

On Sunday, June 23, 2024, a deeply unsettling incident unfolded in the Okara District of Punjab, Pakistan. Chand Shamoon, a Christian man, threatened his brother Shan Shamoon and sister Zanira over a property dispute. Chand’s threats were not only against his siblings but also included a perilous plan to incite violence by threatening to burn a Quran. He warned that while the Muslim mob might kill him, they would also target his family.

The incident occurred around 2:30 PM in the Nasari Church Chowk, a local square. Chand’s shouts drew the attention of the local community and nearby police patrol units. Sensing the presence of law enforcement, he fled the scene. The locals and family members reported the entire episode to the police, who had also witnessed Chand’s threats. Subsequently, the police registered a First Information Report (FIR) under sections of the Anti-terrorism Act and 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with acts intended to outrage religious feelings.

The Aftermath: A Community in Fear:

The immediate consequences of Chand Shamoon’s threats were severe. Fearing retribution from the local Muslim community, many Christian families in the area fled their homes. Despite assurances of safety from the police and the deployment of Pakistan Rangers to maintain peace, dozens of families have yet to return. The atmosphere in the community remains tense, reflecting the pervasive fear that such threats engender.

A Model of Misuse:

This incident is not isolated. Earlier in April 2024, another troubling case was reported in Chaileki, a village in the Sialkot district. Paras Saleem, a Christian man, accused his father-in-law, Reverend Asif Masih, of burning a copy of the Quran. This accusation again highlighted the misuse of blasphemy laws within Christian communities, further aggravating tensions and mistrust.

The Broader Implications:

The misuse of blasphemy laws within Christian families represents a dangerous escalation in a long-standing issue. These laws, intended to protect religious sentiments, are being manipulated to settle personal scores, often with devastating consequences. The threat of mob violence, once primarily a concern for religious minorities at large, is now being used as a weapon within minority communities themselves.

The Pakistani government and civil society must work together to address this issue. Ensuring justice and protection for all citizens, regardless of their religious affiliation, is essential for Pakistan’s peace and stability.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.


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