Vendor arrested under blasphemy law in Pakistan



Lahore: Pakistani police have arrested a vendor under the controversial blasphemy law for allegedly burning the pages of Quran in Lahore, officials said on Tuesday.

Police had to rescue Ghulam Hussain, said to be in his thirties, from an angry mob that gathered outside his house in Shahdara area of Lahore yesterday.

"Before the angry mob broke into Hussain's home, police reached the area and controlled the situation," a senior police official said.

A case was registered against Hussain under the blasphemy law.

Superintendent of Police Imtiaz Sarwer said some children, who had gone to pick up a ball that fell inside Hussain's house, had claimed they had seen him burning pages of the Quran.

The children reported the matter to their mother, who alerted the police, Sarwer said.

He said Hussain seemed to mentally deranged.

Some weeks ago, a mob torched and vandalised about 200 homes in a Christian neighbourhood in Badami Bagh area of Lahore after a Muslim man accused a Christian sanitation worker of blasphemy.

Local residents and police officials later said the Muslim man had made the accusation after a drunken quarrel with the Christian.

Rights groups say the blasphemy law is often used to persecute minorities like Christians and to settle personal scores.

PTI