Lahore: A 17-year-old Christian boy has been arrested under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws for sharing on Facebook an “inappropriate” photograph of Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, police said today.
“We have arrested Nabil Masih, for sharing a page on Facebook which had derogatory content about Kaaba, the holy place of Muslims,” said Muhammad Jamil, police officer of Phoolnagar police station, Kasur district of Punjab province.
Nabil is the resident of Deena Naath village of Kasur, some 50 km from Lahore.
Jamil said Nabil has been booked under blasphemy law of Pakistan Penal Code. He faces upto 12 years imprisonment under the charges.
“Police acted on the complaint of Nabil’s neighbour who alleged that he checked the Facebook ID of Nabil and found him having ‘liked and shared’ blasphemous photograph of holy Kaaba which hurt his sentiments and of other Muslims,” Jamil said.
Soon after arresting and registering FIR against Nabil police sent him to jail, anticipating attack on the police station by angry locals in the area.
Nabil’s father, two brothers and three sisters had to leave the village to avert any possible attack on them.
“Police reached the village in time and managed to stop the people from taking law into their hand,” Jamil said.
The enraged people wanted to burn the house of Nabil but the police stopped them from doing so.
“Had Nabil not been arrested, a law and order situation could have arisen in the village,” the police officer said.
Allegations of blasphemy can trigger beatings and mob violence in the conservative Muslim-majority country, which has strict blasphemy laws including the death penalty.
A Christian couple were lynched and burnt in Punjab in 2014 after being falsely accused of desecrating the Quran.
Rights campaigners say blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal disputes in Pakistan.