Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pakistani Muslims Charged With Blasphemy After Sikh's Turban Desecrated

File photo of Sikh Nihang (religious warriors) in Pakistan.
File photo of Sikh Nihang (religious warriors) in Pakistan.

Five Muslim employees of a Pakistani transport company were arraigned on blasphemy charges after a Sikh man complained they desecrated his turban during an argument about a delayed bus.

Mahindar Paul Singh complained to police after the May 1 brawl on a bus journey from Faisalabad to Multan.

Singh said one employee threw his turban on the ground during the altercation -- an act tantamount to desecration under the Sikh religious code.

Singh said that, since he is a Pakistani national, the attackers should be charged with blasphemy according to the same law that non-Muslims have been prosecuted under when accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad or desecrating the Koran.

Pakistani authorities agreed, leading to the start of legal proceedings on May 3.

Blasphemy carries the death penalty and is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Rights activists criticize Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, saying they often are used to carry out personal vendettas against minorities.

Based on reporting by AFP and Dawn