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Published On: Wed, Oct 15th, 2014

Pakistan: Blasphemy charges against Christians dropped after battle over graveyard

Over fifty Christians in Pakistan have been cleared of blasphemy charges after the resolution of a Muslim gang and their false accusations towards Christians over a land dispute.

The Christians were originally charged under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which refers to defiling the name of Muhammad and carries the death penalty. Remarkably, following the intervention of Barnabas-funded Christian lawyers, this charge was later overturned in a rare move by police, as detailed by Cross Map.

The accused Christians were instead charged with violating a place of worship or cemetery (section 297 of the Pakistan Penal Code), which does not carry the death penalty. Barnabas Aid received confirmation that this charge has now also been dropped after a written compromise was reached between Muhammad Iqbal, who made the accusation, and the Christians, the article chronicles.

Thirteen Christians, including a twelve-year old boy, were actually arrested, but have now been released.

The dispute took place after the Christians had acquired verbal permission from a sympathetic Muslim landowner to convert a disused Muslim graveyard into a Christian cemetery. The Christians began preparing the land for burying their own dead. This upset local Muslims, who attacked the Christians.

Although the Christians apologized and said that they would not use the land, the blasphemy case was then registered against them. When the thirteen Christians were subsequently arrested, police raided their homes, breaking down the gates and even threatening the believers with death.

Many of the remaining Christian families fled their homes after Muslims threatened to set fire to their houses.

The Christians needed to acquire Muslim-owned land to bury their dead because there is a shortage of Christian burial land in the village. The area is home to more than 350 Christian families whereas Muslim families number over 1,000, are generally richer and own more land.

Pakistan map Photo/CIA

Pakistan map Photo/CIA

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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