Doctor arrested in Pakistan on charge of blasphemy

A doctor in Pakistan`s southern Sindh province was arrested on a charge of blasphemy after he threw the business card of a pharmaceutical representative named Mohammad Faizan into a dustbin.

Last Updated: Dec 12, 2010, 15:43 PM IST

Islamabad: A doctor in Pakistan`s
southern Sindh province was arrested on a charge of blasphemy
after he threw the business card of a pharmaceutical
representative named Mohammad Faizan into a dustbin.

Faizan visited the doctor, Naushad Walyani, at his
clinic in Hyderabad, the second largest city of Sindh, on
Thursday.

As Faizan handed Walyani his business card, the doctor
threw it into a dustbin and rushed out of his clinic, Faizan
claimed. Faizan returned to the clinic at 8 pm with his
colleagues Mohammad Waqas and Mohammad Azam, and confronted
the doctor.

When asked about his action of throwing the card into
the dustbin, Walyani kicked the dustbin and asked Faizan to
take back his card. Faizan claimed the doctor`s actions
amounted to an act of blasphemy and left the clinic.

A group of pharmaceutical representatives went to the
clinic on Saturday and beat up the doctor for allegedly
uttering blasphemous remarks.

They then handed Walyani over to police, who booked
the doctor under the Blasphemy Act. Walyani rejected the
charge of blasphemy while talking to the media.

The doctor was later shifted from the police station
to a more secure facility due to security concerns, officials
said.

Representatives of some religious parties and hardline
groups too have complained to the police against the doctor.

The death sentence given to a Christian woman after
she was convicted of blasphemy last month has triggered a
debate on the need to repeal or amend Pakistan`s controversial
blasphemy law introduced by late military ruler Zia-ul-Haq in
the 1980s.

Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti and rights
activists have contended that the law is often used to harass
and intimidate members of minority communities.

PTI