PAKISTAN: Vigilantes murder man exonerated by the court on blasphemy charges

He was accused and cleared of saying something derogatory about the paedophile prophet Mohammed. But the Muslim savages figured they should kill him anyway…just in case.

CNN –Mohamed Imran had been accused, jailed, tried and cleared: if anything, society owed him a debt as a man wrongfully accused. Two weeks after he returned to his small patch of farmland on the rustic outskirts of Islamabad, his alleged crime caught up with him.

Two gunmen burst into the shoe shop where he was sat talking to a friend. Imran tried to duck, to seek cover behind the man next to him — terrified so greatly for his own life that he perhaps forgot about those around him. But the gunmen found their target and Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws claimed another victim.

Two high-profile politicians have this year been assassinated for their criticism of the blasphemy laws: Punjab governor Salman Taseer and minorities minister (and Christian) Shahbaz Bhatti.

Some observers see their deaths and the climate of rage around the blasphemy laws as symptomatic of a broader rise in fundamentalist tendencies in Pakistan. It’s reported that more than 30 of the hundreds of people convicted under the blasphemy laws have been killed by vigilantes. The state has yet to execute anyone for this crime.

The curious part about this blasphemy case — and many other such convictions and allegations under the controversial law — is that they do not specify what the accused is meant to have said. The first complaint delivered to the police in 2009 refers to a conversation Imran allegedly had with another man in a cafe, but says the exact blasphemous phrase cannot be repeated as that too would be an act of blasphemy.