LAHORE: A convert to Christianity , falsely charged under blasphemy allegations believed to be poisoned.
Just another case of misuse of blasphemy law, when Tahir Iqbal who worked as an engine mechanic in the Pakistan Air Force, was charged of blasphemy accusations. He had also suffered from paralysis, and was unable to walk or stand.
His conversion to Christianity had annoyed his community, who framed charges against him saying “when Azaan (call for prayer) is recited early in the morning in the mosque, Tahir Iqbal feels infuriated and starts abusing Prophet Mohammed at the top of his voice, imparts anti-Islamic education to children who come to him for tuition, has defiled Holy Quran by underlining with green marker, and thus has seriously injured our religious feelings.”
He was consequently, arrested by the police on blasphemy charges. Despite of his physical inability, he was not bailed out. The session’s judge while dismissing his bail application, passed the following order:
“Learned counsel for the petitioner has conceded before me that the petitioner has converted as Christian. With this admission on the part of petitioners counsel there is no need to probe further into the allegations as contained in the FIR [first information report] because learned DDA [the title of the prosecuting attorney] has disclosed that charge has already been framed and the accused is facing trial. Since conversion from Islam to Christianity is in itself a cognizable offence involving serious implication, I do not consider the petitioner entitled to the concession of bail at this stage.”
Though it is needless to comment, it may be mentioned that no law in Pakistan has yet been framed which makes conversion from Islam to Christianity a cognizable offence. When the defence lawyer, appeared in the court, he was informed by the State counsel that the accused had died in the jail the previous night. Tahir Iqbal was poisoned to death in jail under a plot about which he had informed all authorities concerned ahead of time.