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Chinese national arrested on blasphemy charges by Pakistani police

Police identified the man only as Mr. Tian from China and said he was arrested on Sunday night, hours after hundreds of residents blocked a key highway and rallied to demand his arrest

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

AP Peshawar

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Pakistani police arrested a Chinese national on blasphemy charges after he allegedly insulted Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, authorities said on Monday. Under Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, the offense carries the death penalty.
Police identified the man only as Mr. Tian from China and said he was arrested on Sunday night, hours after hundreds of residents and laborers working on a dam project blocked a key highway and rallied to demand his arrest.
The rally took place in the town of Komela in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan, according to local police chief Naseer Khan.
Khan said officers quickly responded to the protests by rescuing and arresting the Chinese national.
We are still investigating, Khan said.
The blocked highway later reopened to traffic and work resumed at the Dasu Dam, which has scores of Chinese and hundreds of Pakistanis working on the project, Khan said.
Mob attacks on people accused of blasphemy and even lynching attacks are common in Pakistan, a conservative Muslim country. Rights groups say blasphemy accusations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores.
Videos circulating on social media showed an angry mob demonstrating outside a sprawling compound housing Chinese and Pakistani construction workers in Komela. The demonstrators can be heard chanting God is great as security forces fire shots in the air to disperse the crowds.
Although arrests of Muslims and non-Muslims on charges of blasphemy are common in Pakistan, foreigners are rarely among those arrested.
In 2021, however, a mob lynched a Sri Lankan man at a sports factory in eastern Punjab province and later burned his body in public over allegations he desecrated posters bearing the name of the Prophet Muhammad.
Police said the Chinese national will be tried under the blasphemy laws if investigations prove he insulted Islam. Khan, the police chief, said the arrested Chinese man was in charge of heavy transport at the Dasu Dam project when the other laborers claimed he had insulted the prophet.
The arrest comes days after police in Punjab arrested a Muslim woman on charges of blasphemy after she allegedly claimed she was an Islamic prophet. She was taken into custody from her home after a mob had gathered outside demanding that she be lynched after news spread of her alleged claims of prophethood.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Apr 17 2023 | 4:17 PM IST

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