A Christian pastor from Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab, has been arrested by the authorities because he allegedly disrespected the Quran, the Muslim holy book, in an incident that happened recently in Nishtar Colony.
The only thing tying Pastor Babu Shehbaz to the alleged crime was a scribble of his name on the pages of the Quran, which was found on a street near a Christian locality in Kamahan village, according to Pakistan Today.
He was arrested after complainant Haji Nadeem got a First Information Report (FIR) registered against him. The FIR is a written document prepared by police organisations in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan after they receive information about a cognisable offence.
However, Nadeem did admit that neither he nor anyone else saw Shehbaz writing his name on the pages of the Muslim holy book. He also admitted that he was not sure whether or not the pastor really did commit the crime or if he was simply framed up.
Nadeem said it was possible that a local church framed up Shehbaz. He said two Christian groups are actually clashing over the ownership of the local church. He surmised that someone from the opposing side might have conspired against Shehbaz to get a better stake at the church.
On the other hand, Christian rights activists are doubtful of Nadeem's statements, and are pointing at him as the person behind the whole conspiracy.
Meanwhile, Open Doors USA reported that Christian persecution in Pakistan remains extreme, saying that the suffering of Christians is mainly due to Islamic extremism.
"Though the military announced a war against Islamic radicals, it continues a policy of distinguishing between 'good' and 'bad' jihadists," the organisation said. "While it fights the latter, it courts the former and uses them as a proxy to reach its goals in neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan and India."
Out of Pakistan's 199 million population, four million are Christians. The main religion being observed in the country run by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is Islam.