| by Xavier Patras William

( October 30, 2013, Karachi, Sri Lanka Guardian) Boota Masih a 58, who worked for over 30 years at the Liaqatabad Gold Market in Karachi was murdered by a fellow worker over a false blasphemy accusation.

Professional rivalry or blasphemy? A member of the Liaqatabad Jewelers Association said," I have been seeing Boota Masih working in this market from past 3 decades, he was an honest worker, no complaint was ever reported against him, had never seen him even speaking against anyone ever."

The family of the deceased is convinced that the blasphemy allegation was used as a tool to murder him.

No one in the entire market has testified that they heard or saw Masih saying any derogatory remarks about the Prophet; this clearly is a case of false accusation to murder an innocent man on professional rivalry.

Muhammad Asif a worker at the jewelry market brutally stabbed Masih, calling him a blasphemer and no one dared to intervene.

Masih`s family talked to the people in the market, everyone confirmed that this is a case of false accusation and the blasphemy accusation was used as an excuse for murder, the jewelers association is also silent in the matter.

The family got a FIR registered, No. 226/13 for murder against Muhammad Asif, Initially the police seem reluctant in pursuing the matter, but on 24th October 2013 armed men forcefully entered Masih`s family home and threatened to kill the family if they don’t convert to Islam.

The family reported the matter to the police and the police investigated the matter and managed to arrest the prime accused Muhammad Nadeem along with 2 other men who broke into Masihi`s house and harass the family.

This is not the first time a person has been falsely accused and murder on accusations of blasphemy, last year a mentally unstable man was burnt alive outside a police station in Bahawalpur and no one was arrested, there have been over 40 extra judicial killings on Blasphemy accusations, unfortunately no one was arrested for killing these people.

Last year a 14 year old girl suffering from down syndrome was falsely accused by a cleric who himself had burned the pages of the Quran, the mod tried to burn her alive as well, but the police intervened in time and saved her, later she was acquitted by the court.

The people who had raised their voice against the misuse of the blasphemy laws have been assassinated or threatened; the former government tried to form a committee to talk about the misuse of the blasphemy laws, but had to take a u-turn when the former governor Punjab Salman Taseer was assassinated in Islamabad by his own guard.

The civil society has condemned the incident and demanded that the concerned authorities act and immediately arrest Muhammad Asif. Human Rights organization Life for All Pakistan has condemned the incident.

A Statement issued by LFA Pakistan said, “This is indeed a sad incident, an innocent has been murdered for professional rivalry and his family has been threatened to convert. The minorities are already insecure and such incidents fuel the uncertainty. The minorities in Pakistan are forced to live in fear and distress, the concerned authorities should work together to promote harmony and discourage such incidents. The people have hardly came out of the shock of the Peshawar incident, they are forced to experience such incidents.

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan have been misused to settle personal vendettas, how many more innocent lives will it take for the legislators to work on to stop the misuse of these laws. People, dont trust the system, they take the law in their own hand, the judiciary needs to show their writ and display that there is a rule of the law so that people would think before taking the law into their hand and dont kill the innocent. In Pakistan even being accused of Blasphemy is equal to the sentence, There are state laws for blasphemy and it is duty of state to investigate whether one is really involved in it or not. But who has given right to anyone to breach the law and kill someone in the name of blasphemy. Action to amend dual nationality law to suit parliamentarians is taken in hours but no action taken in years on the misuse of the blasphemy law because it does not concern the law makers personally nor they feel the pain of the innocent lives lost in the course. "

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