04/18/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), Christian leaders in Pakistan were blocked from holding a press conference regarding the arrest of two Christian nurses on blasphemy charges. The Christian leaders claim the press conference was postponed by authorities to prevent them from reveling new facts about the allegations against the nurses.
On April 9, Mariam Lal and Newish Urooj were detained by police after being accused of committing blasphemy by Muslim coworkers at Civil Hospital in Faisalabad. The women were specifically accused of desecrating a sticker that carried “Durood Shareef,” a salutation for Prophet Muhammad, on April 8.
As news of the accusation spread, a mob of enraged Muslims gathered outside of Civil Hospital and demanded the two women be punished. According to UCAN, members of the mob chanted, “Beheading is the only punishment for blasphemy.”
After the Christians were officially accused of blasphemy, Christian leaders began meeting with police to resolve the situation. According to these leaders, the accusation was filed by police due to public pressure.
“We strongly condemn the district administration of Faisalabad which unnecessarily interfered and misused their authority to postpone our press conference,” the Minorities Alliance Pakistan said in a press statement. “The false case was registered under public pressure. We wanted to reveal new facts, demand legal action against troublemakers, and demand justice.”
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.