He was accused of sharing 'blasphemous' content on Facebook
A university in Kohat barred a student from entering the campus after a mob attempted to lynch him over blasphemy accusations on Wednesday.
The victim, who is a seventh-semester student of BSCS, has been accused of committing blasphemy against companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Zeeshan Bangash, the spokesperson for Kohat University of Science and Technology, told SAMAA Digital over the phone that the varsity has “suspended the student from entering the university premises with immediate effect”.
The university, according to a notification, has given the student’s parents the option to cancel his admission.
The student hadn’t been coming to university for the past few weeks, the university spokesperson said. He came to the classroom on Wednesday and his presence agitated his class fellows, he added.
The student wrote a letter to the university’s vice-chancellor and sought exemption from regularly attending classes due to threats to his life.
“Coming to university is a threat to my life and my arrival can also make the situation worse at the university,” he said in the letter.
According to the police, an FIR was registered against the student in September under Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code for sharing a “blasphemous” post on Facebook.
“The student, who is a Shia, shared an inappropriate post [on Facebook] in Muharram and it spread agitation not only in the university but in district Kohat,” Javed Iqbal, the district police officer, told SAMAA Digital. “He was arrested and sent to jail but was released on bail.”
The DPO said he had advised the university administration to bar his entry on campus because he knew a “law and order situation will be created if he enters the university premises”.
“At least 10 or 12 people tried to get physical with him when he showed up in class on Wednesday,” said the police official. “The situation could have turned ugly had the police and university administration not responded in time.”
The student is safe and still residing in the area, said DPO Iqbal.
On Wednesday, a security guard shot and killed a bank manager in Punjab after accusing him of blasphemy. The victim, identified as Malik Imran Hanif, was the manager of a bank in Khushab’s Quaidabad tehsil.
According to Khushab District Police Officer Tariq Wilayat, the security guard Nawaz claimed that he shot Hanif because he was an Ahmadi and had blasphemed against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The bank manager’s uncle, however, told SAMAA TV that Nawaz had killed Hanif over personal grievances and was now using blasphemy charges to protect himself.
In July, A 57-year-old Ahmadi man and US citizen Tahir Ahmed Naseem was shot dead by a teenager in a Peshawar court during his hearing on blasphemy charges. Naseem had allegedly “proclaimed prophethood” in 2018.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote in its 2019 report that at least 80 people are imprisoned in Pakistan jails for blasphemy and at least half of them are facing a life or death sentence. According to Al-Jazeera, at least 77 people have been killed in the country over blasphemy accusations since 1990.
Blasphemy cases elicit strong emotion in Pakistan. People often emerge to support men who kill over it. Qibla Ayaz, the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, finds that this happens because people do not know the teachings of Islam on the matter. The Council of Islamic Ideology is a constitutional body that advises lawmakers whether a certain law is repugnant to Islam.
“In Islam, no one can declare any person an infidel,” Qibla Ayaz told SAMAA Digital. In fact, clerics of all sects agreed upon this in January 2018 at the Paigham-e-Pakistan conference in Islamabad. “It is totally unacceptable in Islam for a certain group to take the law into its own hands, declare people infidels, start killing them in the name of commanding good and forbidding from evil.”