Karachi: With a sensational about-face, the police registered case no. 74/21 against the Christian woman Tabitha Nazir Gill, according to article 295 C of the Pakistani Penal Code, that is, for “having used derogatory comments pronounced or written, directly or indirectly, which offend the name of Muhammad or the other prophets”. It is one of the articles of the infamous blasphemy law that makes so many victims in Pakistan and that is frequently abused and brought up for personal revenge.
Tabitha Nazir Gill, a renowned Christian evangelical singer who works as a nurse at Sobhraj Maternity Hospital in Karachi city, was accused of blasphemy on January 28 by her colleagues. She was beaten and tortured by hospital staff and visitors until police officers arrived and treated her to custody. .
After investigating the case, the police officers of the Aram Bagh police station released the woman without formalizing any charges. On the afternoon of January 29, a crowd gathered in front of the police office protesting the woman’s release and lobbying for her indictment: the police officers then registered the complaint against the woman. According to the First Information Report (FIR), registered at the police station, signed and filed by Saba Wasi, one of the hospital’s Muslim nurses, Tabitha is accused of making derogatory remarks against the prophets Adam, Abraham and Mohammed and for having proclaimed the name of Jesus to patients.
Father Nazir John, Chaplain of the Christian Doctors of the Archdiocese of Karachi, speaking to Fides said: “I am very sad to hear of the incident that happened with Tabitha. I know her personally, she is a woman of deep faith, and she loves to sing religious hymns. I’ve seen videos of her where they beat her and torture her to get her to confess her crime to her to write an apology. I honestly do not believe in her accusations against you: I do not believe that, as a dedicated and responsible person, you can hurt the religious feelings of others; moreover, in the nursing profession, she has always worked without any discrimination of creed and caste ”.
The case presents itself as yet another exploitation of the blasphemous law since everything seems to have sprung from a quarrel that took place between the nurses in the hospital. Some Muslims recognize this and defend Tabitha. A Muslim nurse who works with Tabitha Gill, in her message sent to Fides, notes: “I condemn the brutal tortures inflicted by hospital staff, visitors and patients, against Tabitha; there is no evidence that she used derogatory remarks about anyone. There are the videos in which it is clear that she was tortured and beaten in the hospital ”.
He adds: “We are all equal human beings, I have been working with Christian nurses for years and I have never seen any of them perform irresponsible acts. According to our profession, we take an oath to serve humanity, without any distinction or religious discrimination. I also ask the medical staff of our hospital not to spoil the name of Islam by turning personal issues into a religious one: personal misunderstandings can be addressed and resolved with the help of the hospital management ”.
Rana Mehboob Ali, a Muslim man present in the hospital, shares his thoughts with Fides: “When police officials investigated the matter and did not find the Christian woman guilty, at the same time I also appealed to government officials to take act of the accident. Those who trample on individual rights and do justice by themselves should be punished, the charge of blasphemy cannot be decided by simple individuals, for they can act for personal reasons, nor registered on the wave of a popular prRotest. We must let the citizens of religious minorities live in peace in Pakistan.
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