There’s been an even more sinister turn in the story of the illiterate Christian girl accused of blasphemy by a Pakistani imam: the imam himself was arrested and accused of tampering with evidence and desecrating the Koran.
“The imam was arrested after his deputy Maulvi Zubair and two others told a magistrate he added pages from the Koran to the burnt pages brought to him by a witness,” police investigator Munir Hussain Jaffri said. Zubair and the two others, Mohammad Shahzad and Awais Ahmed, said they had urged Chishti not to interfere with the papers, Jaffri said.“They protested that he should not add something to the evidence and he should give the evidence to the police as he got it and should not do this,” Jaffri said. “But they said Chishti said, ‘You know this is the only way to expel the Christians from this area.’”
As we noted last week, the imam’s actions were grimly effective, prompting heightened anxiety among Islamabad’s Christians, with many fleeing to surrounding forests. Many have returned, but the episode illustrates how threatened religious minorities feel in the Pakistani state.While Via Meadia doesn’t think anybody should get the death penalty for blasphemy, if these stories are true, this imam clearly deserves something more than a slap on the wrist.