Pakistani court announces verdict in Chinese national blasphemy case

Pakistani court announces verdict in Chinese national blasphemy case

PESHAWAR – A Chinese national accused of committing blasphemy was granted bail by an anti-terrorism court in Abbottabad before being released to an undisclosed location.

The suspect was arrested on April 16th in Upper Kohistan district after being accused of blasphemy by a mob who had accused him of committing blasphemy while exchanging arguments with laborers over long prayer breaks at the project site.

The FIR was registered at Kamila police station under sections 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 6/7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act. The judge granted the bail plea after the Chinese national furnished a bond of Rs. 200,000 as surety, and his lawyers contended that their client was innocent, terming the blasphemy charge against him false.

During the hearing, the Joint Investigation Team, which was set up to probe the matter, presented records of statements made by the accusers and the Chinese national. The court observed that the three accusers were unable to produce evidence in support of their accusations, nor could they prove charges in their statements before the JIT.

The judge ruled that the case did not come within the ambit of "reasonable ground" as the blasphemy charge was the "result of a misunderstanding," and that the police station had registered a "false case" against the Chinese national.