Protest against abduction of Hindu woman
The Kolhi community on Sunday blocked the Khipro-Umerkot highway for more than two hours in protest against the abduction of a woman of their community and the Khai police’s refusal to register a first information report (FIR).
According to the protestors, a group of armed men broke into the home of one Gori Kolhi in the Khai area of Sindhri taluka, Mirpurkhas, and kidnapped the mother of four. The woman’s husband and other members of the community approached the Khai Police to lodge a complaint, however they were turned away.
In protest, the community members blocked the highway and staged a sit-in against the abductors and area police. The gathering dispersed when a team of Khai Police assured them that a case would be registered.
There have been multiple reports of abductions of Hindu girls for forced conversion in Sindh in the past eight days.
Kavita Bheel was reportedly forcibly converted and married to one Nadeem Kapri on March 20 in Umerkot.
On March 21, 18-year-old Pooja Kumari was gunned down in her home in Rohri, Sukkur, by her Muslim neighbour Sahib Odh when she resisted his attempts to abduct her for marriage.
Satran Oad was allegedly abducted from Pithoro, Mirpurkhas, and taken to Lahore where she was converted and married to one Umar Mangrio on March 22. Satran’s age is reported as 13, however the nikah-nama states she is 18.
In the third incident, Horzan Kolhi was allegedly kidnapped, converted and married to one Niaz Ali Brohi on March 23 in Mirpurkhas. Her family claims she is 16 however her conversion certificates notes her age as 22.
SC discards blasphemy charges in case against Ahmadis
The Supreme Court reversed an order of the Lahore High Court endorsing blasphemy charges against members of the Ahmadiyya community for allegedly styling their place of worship as a mosque and displaying the Kalima and the name of the Prophet (PBUH) on the inner walls.
In the nine-page judgment, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, on hearing a petition against the blasphemy charges levied against the Ahmadiyya community, observed that depriving a non-Muslim from their religious beliefs and obstructing them from professing and practicing their religion in their place of worship is in violation of the Constitution of Pakistan.
On November 23, 2020, a trial court had framed charges against the petitioners for offences punishable under sections 298-B (misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc., reserved for certain holy personages or places) and 298-C (person of Quadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The complainant subsequently filed an application to add sections 295-B (defiling, etc., of copy of Holy Quran) and 295-C (use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet) to the charges.
It is pertinent to note that sections 298-B and 298-C each carry a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and fine, while 295-B carries the maximum penalty of life and 295-C death.
The Lahore High Court had endorsed the inclusion of blasphemy charges against the petitioners.
The Supreme Court noted that even though Article 260(3) of the Constitution declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims, it neither disowned them as citizens, nor deprived them of their entitlement to their fundamental rights.
The court held there is no allegation in the crime report that attracts any offence punishably by 295-B. Furthermore, it stated that the lower courts have determined that reading of the Kalima or the Holy Quran by a non-Muslim/Ahmadi attracts Section 295-C, which in the view of the apex court is not only far-fetched but also fails to meet the fundamental constituents of the crime, i.e., mens rea and actus reus.
The Supreme Court noted that trial and revisional courts did not correctly examine the ingredients necessary to constitute the offences punishable under sections 295-B and 296-C, and the petition was therefore converted into an appeal and allowed. However, the trial of the petitioners will proceed under offences punishable under sections 298-B and 298-C.
Pakistani woman detained in India returns home
Sameera, a Pakistani national who spent the last four years of her life in prison in Bangalore, India, and her four-year-old daughter finally returned to their homeland on Saturday.
Mother and daughter were accompanied by officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to the Wagah border, where they were received by Rangers. PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui stated on the occasion that it may take an additional couple of days to process Sameera’s repatriation, after which she will be free to travel anywhere in the country.
He further added that no relative came to receive Sameera and her daughter, and that the pair are being looked after by Rangers for now. Her husband took her to India sans a viss via the Nepal border in September 2016. She was arrested in May 2017 and sentenced to three years in prison. Her husband was also arrested by released after a few months.
Sameera gave birth to her daughter shortly after she was incarcerated. The Pakistan High Commission in Delhi was given access to Sameera in 2018, and wrote to the Pakistani Interior Ministry to confirm her Pakistani citizenship. However, they received no reply.
Sameera was released after serving a four-year sentence and paying a fine of Rs. 1 million (made possible through donations). She was subsequently placed in a women’s protection center where she resided with her daughter for several months prior to their repatriation.