Ahmedi arrested on blasphemy charges


KARACHI: A member of the minority Ahmedi community was arrested for allegedly desecrating a copy of the holy Quran, police said on Tuesday, the latest invocation of the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.
Tahir Ahmed was arrested Monday night in the town of Tando Allahyar, 240 kilometres northeast of Karachi after a mob overran his residence and an Ahmedi place of worship on its ground floor following the allegation. Ahmed, who is in his forties, was said to have “roughed up” a child and thrown a copy of the holy Quran he was carrying, senior police officer Javed Baloch said. “We are investigating the matter,” said Baloch. 
Sanaullah Abbassi, another senior police officer, confirmed the incident, adding: “The area remains tense and we are trying to pacify the people.” Police said local religious activists took to the streets to protest after the incident. “The court has granted us Tahir Ahmed custody for two weeks,” Baloch, the police officer said. Also on Tuesday, a Pakistani man sentenced to death for blasphemy appealed against his conviction, saying the charges were trumped up to speed the eviction of minority Christians from their land. Sawan Masih was convicted last week of insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during a conversation with a Muslim friend in the Joseph Colony neighbourhood of Lahore in March last year. A recent report from a US government advisory panel said Pakistan used blasphemy laws more than any other country in the world, listing 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for insulting Islam. 

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