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Saturday, February 24, 2024  
13 Shaban 1445  

Fact check: Sahiwal man neither framed for blasphemy nor a Christian

Victim is a rickshaw driver and he was beaten while dropping girls to school in Chichawatni
A still from a video shows a group of people beating the rickshaw driver in Sahiwal’s Chichawatni. Screengrab via Aaj News
A still from a video shows a group of people beating the rickshaw driver in Sahiwal’s Chichawatni. Screengrab via Aaj News

Multiple videos from Sahiwal’s Chichawatni have been shared with claims that a man was beaten and accused of blasphemy when he demanded his daily wages after work. Aaj News found out that it was not true.

Waseem from the affected family confirmed to our correspondent in Sahiwal via phone that the victim seen in the video was his relative Javed who is a Muslim and that he was beaten by some influential people in the city. He demanded justice from the authorities.

The videos were uploaded on X, formerly known as Twitter, within days after Jaranwala violence on August 16 when a mob vandalised at least 19 churches and houses of the Christian community following allegations that a copy of the Holy Quran had been desecrated.

One of the videos has so far gotten more than 10,000 views on X as people already moved by Jaranwala violence condemned the ‘latest incident’ in replies.

However, the victim himself and the FIR registered in the case tell a different story.

The first information report was registered with the Okanwala Bangla police station on August 19 against nine people who, the FIR said, issued life threats to the rickshaw driver when he arrived at the Mir Waley Chowk.

Muhammad Younus, Abul Salam, Talat, Asghar Ali, Fazal Ilahi, Ghulam Rasool, Kashif, Waqas, and unidentified people have been named in the FIR.

The complainant, Muhammad Javed, was en route to drop a group of girls at school. The accused told the children to leave the vehicle, threatening them with dire consequences.

They then attacked Javed.

The FIR alleged that the accused did not stop beating the rickshaw driver despite the request of people from the neighbourhood. The FIR claimed that one of the accused Kashif held a gun to the victim’s head but did not shoot after the people managed to convince them to not do it.

The FIR invoked sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 337-F(i) (punishment of ghayr-jaifah: whoever by doing any act with the intention of causing hurt to any person, or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause hurt to any person, causes: (i) damihah to any person, shall be liable to daman and may also be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year as ta’zir), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object).

Javed lamented that the police were not cooperating with him and demanded the Sahiwal DPO take notice of the violence.

“Law is equal for everyone. No one will be allowed to take the law into their hands,” DPO Faisal Shehzad. He added that an investigation was under way.

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