Pakistan: Faith healer arrested for blasphemy

A Christian healer faces charges of blasphemy in Pakistan

A Christian faith healer has been arrested for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to officials.

Naveed John was arrested for having Islamic script on a sword he used to treat his clients. He was working in Sargodha, an agricultural town 108 miles southwest of Islamabad on 8 October, when he was arrested after Muslim residents complained.

"The arrest was made after residents complained that the Christian man used a sword for healing patients on which Islamic verses were inscribed and it was offending for their religious sentiments," local police official Ameer Mukhtar told AFP.

John held that the sword was "sacred" and had healing properties for patients.

He was charged under the blasphemy law, particularly the clause which deals with outraging the religious feelings of citizens, according to Mukhtar.

The prison sentence for blasphemy can be as long as 10 years. According to Investigator Mahmood Ahmad Khan, the police have completed their investigations and have submitted a court report.

Blasphemy is a hugely volatile and sensitive issue in Pakistan, and unproved allegations often lead to mob violence.