Pakistan: Blasphemy accusation leads to school attack

A large number of people, including activists from religious parties, have ransacked and set on fire a girls' school in Lahore, Pakistan, and clashed with police following reports that a question paper for a test had contained blasphemous references and "indecent" remarks about the Prophet Mohammad.

According to Legal Evangelical Association Development, people in the area had been demanding police action against the teacher of Farooqi Girls High School accused of blasphemy for the last couple of days.

The Daily Times is reporting that teachers, students, their parents and residents of Ravi Road area of Lahore on Thursday condemned the attack on Farooqi Girls High School and termed allegations of blasphemy against the school a "controversy".

Carrying placards and shouting slogans against the violence, hundreds of girl students protested outside Lahore Press Club against Tuesday's mob attack on the school.

The placards read "Release Principal Sir Asim", "Release our spiritual father", "CJ take suo motu notice", "Attack on our school is a conspiracy", "We have the right to education" and "We are also lovers of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)".

The students also showed the torn book which their teacher had used while preparing the content in question.

The protesting students claimed that a conspiracy had been hatched against the school for its excellent performance and progress.

Talking to Daily Times, they said they had been given Islamic teachings at the school and its administration and also that it had nothing to do with blasphemy.

They requested the chief justice of Pakistan to order steps for early reopening of their school.

Fatima, mother of a student, said the mob attacked the school without probing the blasphemy allegations.

"Had the protesters let police complete investigation, things would have been different," Fatima said.

"I myself was shocked when I read the content in question. But I calmed down after I came to know that the torn page of the book led the teacher to write wrong lines," she said.

Another student said that girls in Pakistan would suffer due to this incident. She compared the ransacking of school with the last month's attack on Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl student who was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out for education for girls in her area of the Swat District. Malala is now being treated in Birmingham, England.