Pakistan woman in Arabic script dress saved from mob claiming blasphemy

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale  - Senior Editor
3 Min Read
SHALIK RIYADH/INSTAGRAM

In a recent incident in Lahore, Pakistan, a woman faced a harrowing situation when a mob accused her of blasphemy due to her dress adorned with Arabic calligraphy, which they mistook for Quranic verses. Swift police intervention saved her from potential harm as she was escorted to safety. The dress in question had the word “Halwa” printed in Arabic letters, signifying “beautiful” in Arabic.

Blasphemy is a serious offense in Pakistan, carrying severe penalties, including death. Prompt action by law enforcement prevented the situation from escalating further. The incident occurred at a restaurant in Lahore, where approximately 300 people gathered, creating a hostile environment.

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Assistant Superintendent Syeda Shehrbano, detailing the events, mentioned that the police received a call about the crowd around 13:10 local time on Sunday. Videos circulated on social media depicted the woman visibly scared in the restaurant, surrounded by officers shielding her from an agitated crowd.

Police had to negotiate with the crowd, emphasizing that the woman’s actions would be legally addressed. The Assistant Superintendent mentioned the challenge of safely removing the woman from the area amid the tense situation.

Among the crowd were supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) party, known for its hardline stance. The woman was later taken to a police station, where religious scholars confirmed that the Arabic calligraphy on her dress was not Quranic verses.

In a recorded video, the scholars affirmed the innocent nature of the woman’s attire. The woman, expressing her innocence, apologized for any misunderstanding, emphasizing her commitment to her faith and her intention to avoid any future occurrences.

Authorities clarified that the woman was in Lahore for shopping purposes and has since left the city. Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, a former adviser to the prime minister on religious affairs, took to social media, suggesting that the men in the crowd should be the ones apologizing.

Assistant Superintendent Shehrbano highlighted the increasing frequency of such incidents, emphasizing the need for proactive measures. Her courageous actions during the incident earned her praise, with the Chief of Punjab police advocating for her recognition and bravery award.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, initially formulated during British rule and expanded in the 1980s, continue to be contentious, leading to incidents like the one witnessed in Lahore.

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