‘We are afraid of retaliation.’ A Pakistani youngster, aged 8, has been charged with blasphemy for the first time.
A HUMAN BOY OF EIGHT YEARS OLD has been accused with blasphemy in Pakistan, a felony that still carries the death penalty.
After being released on bond last week, the youngster is being detained in protective custody in East Pakistan. Last month, the Hindu child was accused of urinating on a carpet in a madrassa (Islamic religious school) library, which houses sacred materials.
The reported incident infuriated the mostly Muslim community.
Following the boy’s release, his family and many other Hindus in the Rahim Yar Khan region near Punjab went into hiding or fled their houses as an angry mob stormed a Hindu temple in retribution, destroying statues and setting fire to the temple’s main door.
“He [the youngster]is not even aware of such blasphemy issues and he has been erroneously indulged in these matters,” a member of the boy’s family who asked to stay anonymous told the Guardian.
“He still has no idea what he did wrong or why he was imprisoned for a week.
“We’ve closed our shops and stopped working; the entire town is terrified, and we’re afraid of retaliation.
“We have no desire to return to this location.
“We don’t believe any actual and significant action will be taken against the perpetrators or to protect the local minorities.”
According to legal experts, the charge against the eight-year-old is unusual, as no one this young has ever been charged with the crime.
No executions have been carried out since the death penalty was instituted for the crime in 1986, although suspects have been attacked and sometimes killed by crowds.
Following the attack on the temple, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, condemned the attackers on Twitter and promised to rebuild the Hindu temple.
“I strongly condemn the attack on the Ghanish Temple in Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan yesterday,” he stated.
“I have already directed the Inspector General of Punjab to ensure the arrest of those responsible and to take strong punishment against any police laxity.
“The temple will also be restored by the government.”
Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Rimmel Mohydin, has called on the government to dismiss the accusations and remove the “pernicious legislation.”
“Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have always been used to attack minorities, but this case is a surprising and dramatic departure,” she said.
“In addition.” Brinkwire Summary News.