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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Chinese Engineer Arrested in Pakistan for Alleged Blasphemy

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A Chinese national working on the Dasu Hydropower Project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Upper Kohistan district was arrested after being accused of blasphemy by the workers.

Komalia Station House Officer (SHO) Naseeruddin while confirming the arrest said that a First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against the accused.

A case has been registered under Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the heavy vehicle drivers Gulistan and Yasir, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

The complaint lodged at Komalia police station said that on Sunday night, police officer Jahanzeb received information that a mob was trying to enter the Chinese camp near Barsin.

It was further reported that the local people demonstrated and damaged site office number 6 of the camp.

The complaint further stated that after receiving the information, the police reached the spot and after controlling the situation in the area, the accused was safely shifted to the Komalia police station.

However, it added that in the early hours of Monday, a large number of people reached the Komalia station and once again blocked the Karakoram Highway, raising slogans.

After the police assured to register an FIR, the protesters opened the Karakoram Highway to traffic, local religious leaders also urged the protesters to end the protest.

Later, SHO Naseeruddin told Dawn that the accused had been shifted to Abbottabad by a Pakistan Army helicopter as the police feared that locals might harm him.

He further informed that Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act has been added to the FIR, the Chinese national will be produced in the Abbottabad court.

Suspects are often attacked and sometimes lynched by mobs. Domestic and international rights groups say allegations of blasphemy are enough to cause mob attacks and the killing of the accused. Blasphemy laws are also used to settle personal vendettas and disputes and intimidate religious minorities in Pakistan.

A Sri Lankan factory manager was beaten to death by co-workers in the country’s most populous central Punjab province in December 2021 after he was falsely accused of insulting Islam. A court later sentenced six men to death for lynching the foreigner.

China has invested billions of dollars in close ally Pakistan in recent years, building roads, communication networks, ports, and power plants under Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative.

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