‘Blasphemous’ Christian brothers gunned down

via http://news.oneindia.in/2010/07/20/pak-blasphemous-christain-brothers-gunned-down.html published on July 20, 2010

Lahore, Jul 20: Two Christians, who were arrested on Jul 2 for writing a blasphemous pamphlet on Prophet Mohammad, were gunned down by suspected members of a banned religious group outside a court in Pakistan’s Faislabad.

32-year-old Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and his brother Sajjad were shot on Monday, Jul 19 as they stepped outside the court in Pak’s Punjab province after a hearing.

They were rushed to a hospital but did not survive the attack.

The duo were charged with blasphemy for authoring a pamphlet critical of the Prophet Mohammed. However, the brothers’ supporters argue against the charges saying that they have been “implicated in a fake case” .

“The charges levied on them are false as no evidence has been brought and no witness was present,” Atif Jamil Pagaan, a spokesman for Pakistan Minorities Democratic Foundation told an international news agency.

The pamphlets were allegedly handwritten, photocopied and distributed anonymously with the brothers’ contact details.

The shoot-out lead to riots in Faisalabad. Police personnel were deployed in neighborhoods with Christian residents in a bid to thwart any untoward incidents.

Violence in connection with the case is not new. Earlier, about hundreds of demonstrators burnt tyres and held protests in Waris Pura neighborhood of Faisalabad, where nearly 100,000 Christians reside, demanding the death penalty for the accused.

Pakistan law prescribes death penalty to those proven guilty of blasphemy. However, this incident has only proved that committing blasphemy in Pakistan means death in one way or another. If the law takes too long to act then the extremist elements in the country would step in to do the needful.

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