Christian faith healer arrested for blasphemy in Pakistan

A Christian faith healer has been arrested under the controversial blasphemy laws in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Lahore: A Christian faith healer, who used a sword inscribed with Islamic verses to treat his clients, has been arrested under the controversial blasphemy laws in Pakistan's Punjab province, officials said on Monday.

Naveed John was arrested from district Sargodha, some 175 kilometers from capital Islamabad, after local people lodged a complaint against him early this month for hurting their religious feelings by using the sword.

"John made cuts on the bodies of his patients with a sword inscribed with Quranic verses and also placed it at his feet," the complaint said.

He was arrested early this month and a?blasphemy case has been registered against him, police said.

After thorough investigation John has been arrested and produced before court of law for his offence, a senior police officer from Sargodha told PTI.

"A video of John's using the sword inscribed with Islamic verses while treating his patients and placing it on ground has also been submitted to the police by one of the complainants," he said.

John was later today produced before a sessions court in Sargodga which sent him to jail on judicial remand.

"The accused was sent to jail on judicial remand after the police did not seek his further remand. He has confessed to his crime in police custody," the official said.

Blasphemy, a crime carrying death sentence, is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan where even unproven allegations stir mob violence and lynchings.

Blasphemy laws were introduced in Pakistan in 1980s by former military dictator Ziaul Haq to appease the religious right.

Several persons accused of blasphemy have been killed by extremists in the country.

Among the high profile victims, former governor of Punjab Salman Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, were killed in 2011 for calling the blasphemy laws as black laws.

The controversial laws have attracted criticism from rights groups who say they are frequently misused to settle personal scores.