Police the other day registered a case against Shaan Taseer, son of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, for alleged ‘hate speech’ after he sent a greeting out to fellow countrymen on the occasion of Christmas..
On the Christmas Day, Shaan sent a greeting out to fellow countrymen especially blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi.
In the video, shared by Christian Times on social networking website Facebook, Shaan had criticised the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan and expressed his solidarity with blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi and Nabeel Masih, another Christian boy accused of blasphemy.
Soon after the video went viral, Islampura police station received an application from its SHO Nasir Hameed and subsequently booked Shaan under Section 295-A of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) without naming him in the report.
Meanwhile, Sunni Tehreek also issued a fatwa against Shaan for allegedly committing blasphemy as well as apostasy.
According to the SHO, he received a video message in a USB wherein a man was wishing his viewers Merry Christmas and requesting fellow countrymen to pray for minority members being exploited by, what he called, the “inhumane blasphemy law”.
The man also requested prayers for blasphemy victims including Asia Bibi, Nabeel Masih and their families, and all other Pakistanis languishing in jails on charges of blasphemy, the SHO added.
According to the FIR, the man who made the speech in the video had made a mockery of the blasphemy law and hurt religious sentiments of the Muslims.
Speaking to media, Shaan said the police officials were being pressurised by the Sunni Tehreek. “Of course they know it’s me. They did not chance upon the video. It was thrust into their hands by the Sunni Tehreek,” Shaan held.
Responding to SHO’s claims that they needed a CNIC to confirm his identity, Shaan quipped: “Maybe that explains why they haven’t registered a case for hate speech against Abdul Aziz, they didn’t have Abdul Aziz’s CNIC number.”
Shaan said he has called the DIG Lahore and his lawyer has contacted the SHO Islampura. He said, “they [police officials] were guarded, unable to speak, telling my lawyer they were busy and finally said they are under pressure.”
“Then they gave my lawyer a lecture on how I shouldn’t have done this shararat (mischief),” Shaan added.
“They haven’t listened to my lawyer, they are dancing around playing busy.”
“The Punjab police have, in the past, failed to take action against hate speech when it has kicked them in the face like a horse. One is mildly and tragically amused at the alacrity they have shown at the hate they found in a Christmas message,” Shaan said while responding to the allegations.
Asia Bibi, a 50-year-old mother of five, has been languishing in jail since June 19, 2009, after being convicted of blasphemy during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water in a village near Nankana Sahib.
Shaan’s father Salmaan Taseer, was assassinated on January 4, 2011 by his own bodyguard over the issue of blasphemy.