Accusations of blasphemy and enquiries, detentions and arrests on the basis of social media posts

Sr NoDateIncidentEnquiry/FIRPetition
1July 2016
Nadeem James was arrested upon the accusation of a friend that he shared blasphemous material on Whatsapp.
221 September 2016
Nabeel Chohan arrested in Pakistan after “liking” an allegedly blasphemous Facebook post.
304 January 2017Two human rights activists, Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed, known on social media for their leftist views went missing.Chaudhary Nisar took notice of a report about the registration of a FIR against bloggers by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).A petition was filed before the IHC against five bloggers for running Facebook pages by the name of “Bhensa,” “Mochi” and “Roshni,” which were spreading blasphemous content online. The petitioner asked the court to instruct the respondents to block and remove all blasphemous material as well as book the bloggers under 295- C of the PPC by registering FIRs against them and initiating investigations.

All five bloggers were cleared of charges of blasphemy as FIA informed Court on 22 December 2017
406 January 2017Two more human rights activists Salman Haider and Ahmed Raza Naseer went missing.
512 January 2017A fifth social media activist, Samar Abbas was reported missing.
617 March 2017Pakistan approached Facebook and Twitter to help identify Pakistani’s suspected of blasphemy so that it could prosecute them or purse their extradition.
722 March 2017Islamabad: FIR No. 07/2017 lodged against Abdul Waheed and Rana Nauman U/S 11 PECA along with blasphemy.
824 March 2017FIA arrested three individuals connected to a social media blasphemy case being heard in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
9April 2017Mashal Khan lynched by mob over alleged blasphemy.
A senior police officer later confirmed no blasphemous material was found on Mashal’s mobile phone or social media accounts.
1003 May 2017Prakash Kumar, a 34-year-old crockery shop owner and member of the country’s Hindu religious minority in Hub was arrested for allegedly posting an incendiary image on social media.
1110 June 2017An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) sentenced a 30 year old man to death for sharing blasphemous content about Islam on social media.
1212 September 2017An anti-terrorism court (ATC) charged four suspects for allegedly uploading blasphemous content on social media.
1315 September 2017Nadeem James was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.
1419 Feb 201818 year old Patras Masih booked for blasphemy in Shahdara. His cousin Sajid Masih was called by FIA to record his statement where he jumped off the FIA office in Lahore. Sajid later accused FIA of torture.
Member of Punjab Provincial Assembly (MPA) Shunila Ruth brought up the case of Patras Masih in an assembly session, where she was interrupted by the deputy speaker who criticised her for ‘trusting a newspaper report’ adding that leveling accusations against the country’s institutions (FIA in this case) is ‘inappropriate’ and asked the MPA to refrain from doing so.
1531 July 2018A 19 year old Hindu boy was arrested by police in Mirpurkhas' Mirwah Gorchani area for allegedly posting blasphemous content on social media. A case was filed against him under Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on the orders of Mirpurkhas Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Abid Ali Baloch after local prayer leader Mohammad Anwar Soomro filed a complaint.
1604 October 2018Accused Ibtisam, resident of District Chakwal, arrested by FIA under PECA and ATA over uploading blasphemous material on social media.
1711 May 2019ISLAMABAD: In response to a complaint lodged by Abdul Rehman Muavia, a man was booked with the charge of blasphemy for allegedly posting derogatory remarks on social media platform Facebook. The FIR was lodged in Aabpara police station.

The matter was referred to a senior officer to take a decision on whether it is a police case or should be transferred to the FIA
1818 May 2019THE IHC released an order that detailed that “the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) should investigate the blasphemous content.”
1903 August 2019Sahiwal: Arifwala police arrested a lawyer, Usman Farid Chishti, on charges of sharing a post allegedly having blasphemous content and “hate material” against security establishment and superior judiciary under Section 295-C and other relevant laws. The FIR was registered on the complaint of Ijaz Ahmed, also a lawyer. Arifwala Circle DSP Ghulam Muhammad confirmed the arrest of Chishti on the recommendations of a committee headed by Pakpattan DPO Ibadat Nisar.
2017 October 2019Lahore: Sajid Ali was awarded five-year rigorous imprisonment for posting blasphemous material on social media. He was charged under Section 11 of PECA and section 298-A PPC for allegedly posting “sacrilegious, blasphemous and derogatory material against Hazrat Umar (R.A)” on Facebook in 2017.

The matter was reported to police of Bahawalnagar’s Chishtian tehsil which registered a case but then later transferred it to the FIA Cyber Crime Circle Lahore over the issue of jurisdiction due to the nature of the offence.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs20,000 on Sajid Ali in addition to the jail term.

“The court observed that there must be an awareness campaign by the government to educate people on cybercrime laws as they were new to society. The prosecutor told Dawn that it was the first conviction in the country under the new cybercrime laws on charges of posting blasphemous material against Sahaba (companions) of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on social media.”

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