Civil society wants release of boy facing blasphemy charges

Samiullah has been in juvenile jail after he was arrested on January 29.

Updated: Feb 19, 2011, 14:16 PM IST

Karachi: A blasphemy case involving a
17-year-old Pakistani boy here has been highlighted by civil
rights activists as how the controversial law is being misused
to frame innocent people.

Samiullah has been in juvenile jail after he was
arrested on January 29 for writing blasphemous remarks in his
first year pre-engineering examination paper which was
reported to the police by a examiner of the intermediate
Public prosecutors, however, have rejected the initial
charge sheet filed by the police insisting that it was
submitted in the wrong administrative district of Karachi and
conducted by an unqualified police officer.

Sub-inspector Qudrat Sher Lodhi submitted the charge
sheet after being directed by a magistrate who had sent the
boy to juvenile jail immediately after his arrest.
A deputy district prosecutor said the charge sheet had
been sent back since under the law a sub-inspector didn`t have
authority to investigate such a case.
"It is unfortunate that the case is being handled by
people who don`t understand the Blasphemy law," he said.

He also pointed out that in the charge sheet the
police had mentioned that the offence was committed in the
jurisdiction of their police station whereas the examination
had taken place in Shahrah-e-Faisal police jurisdiction.

Samiullah claims he was misguided by his cousins who
had come to Pakistan from Norway and have now returned home.

The teenager has apologised for his remarks and says
he is sorry for what happened and he never meant any harm.

A police official said the charge sheet will be
resubmitted in 14-days time before a sessions court judge and
the boy would remain in judicial custody until then.

He admitted that since many police officials are not
educated in understanding legal procedures such technical
problems emerge from time to time.

International human right organisations have called on
the Pakistan government to take the boy`s age into
consideration and drop the charges against him.

Many liberal politicians and human rights and civil
activists claim that the blasphemy law promulgated during the
tenure of late President Zia ul Haq is misused by religious
fanatics and people to settle old enmities and disputes.

The governor of the Punjab province, Salman Taseer,
was shot dead by his own bodyguard a religious fanatic in

The killer says he shot dead Taseer because he had
called the blasphemy law a black law.