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Ratnesh Ramji | HENB | Tando Adam (Karachi, Pakistan) | June 22, 2016:: The Pakistani police have arrested a Muslim man under the majority-Muslim country’s strict blasphemy laws for selling shoes with a sacred Hindu symbol on the basis of reports of local Hindu community leaders and preliminary investigation. This arrest has been confirmed by the Tando Adam Police Station and the Hindu community leaders both.
Mohammad Jahanzaib Khaskheli, the shopkeeper, was arrested on Monday in the southern town of Tando Adam and the shoes, which carried the “Om” symbol, were confiscated, said Farrukh Ali, the district police chief.
Hindu community leaders held demonstrations and claimed hard punishment for the shopkeeper.
“The state must play a proactive role in punishing the culprits under the blasphemy laws,” Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the patron of the Pakistani Hindu Council, said in a statement.
Tando Adam, about 200km northeast of Karachi, is in Sindh province, where the vast majority of Pakistan’s approximately three million Hindus live.
Eariler, Historians and researchers Mr Surinder Kochhar informed that since the last three months, more than 47 Hindu girls forced for conversion of religion in Pakistan’s Sindh province. Several Hindu youths hacked ton death. Old man tortured due to eat food before iftar. Minority Hindus are put in most vulnerable situation in Pakistan.
Along with that, Some Pakistan Muslims tried to attack Hindu sentiments by selling shoes with ‘Om Symbol’ publicly.
According to Mr. Kochhar, Karachi’s famous Park Tower Shopping Mall ‘first step shoe store’, which presently 14 branches in Pakistan; Sales of women’s shoes in public with ‘Om’ design on it. This shoes are also seen in the rural and urban areas through local shoe shops through retailer chain.
Mr. Kochhar has mentioned that the shoes sold in Karachi with ‘Om’ written design are made of China and China earlier made ladies footwear with Sikh religious symbols. But, due to public opposition on social media the shop-owners then stopped the sale of shoes. But, now, the Muslim shopkeepers were not ready to stop selling of the shoes with Hindu religious symbols.
Another source suggests that some Muslim footwear industries are also manufacturing the shoes and slippers with Hindu symbols only to hurt the minority Hindu sentiments in Pakistan.
In this instant case, while All Pakistan Hindu Panchayat (APHP) members urged the showroom owners to stop the sale of impugned shoes, the shop owners threatened them out of the showroom. However, police has appeared in the case finally to arrest the offender.
In Pakistan, the Blasphemy laws make it a crime to insult any religion and have specific sections for defiling the Quran or insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad that carry a life sentence and mandatory death sentence, respectively. But, there is no provision to apply this case in the position of sacrilege of defamation of Hindu or non-Islamic religious matters by any culpable Muslim.
If convicted anyway under the existing Blasphemy law, the shopkeeper may face a maximum of 10 years in prison, in addition to a possible fine.
Police said that they are now investigating the supplier of the shoes, whose base is detected in Punjab province.
“The responsibility in this case will be with the people who actually manufactured the shoes … they would probably have done it intentionally,” Farrukh Ali, the district police chief said.
Pakistani rights groups say Hindus are often at high risk of discrimination and hate crimes, including forced conversions, economic discrimination, eviction or even murder.