PAKISTAN – Pakistan Christian boy accused of desecrating Quran by rival garbage collector
A 16-year-old Christian rubbish collector has been accused of burning the Quran and beaten up by a mob in Gujranwala. The boy ‘A.S.’ has now been charged under section 295-B of Pakistan’s Penal Code and, if convicted, will face life imprisonment. However, the boy’s father has suggested his son has been framed by a Muslim rival rubbish collector who wanted to stop him collecting papers outside an Islamic shrine. Last month (August) this Muslim boy alleged that “someone” had burnt a copy of the Quran at the shrine. Then on Sunday 20 August, he found A.S. in the bazaar, began beating him up and then accused him burning the Quran which resulted in a mob joinng in the attack on A.S.
Many Christians in Pakistan earn their living as sweepers or by collecting paper and rubbish on the streets which they then sell for recycling. Because most of them are illiterate they would not necessarily recognise that a piece of paper was from the Quran and so it would be particularly difficult for such individuals to defend themselves against an accusation of this nature which they are alleged to have done several weeks earlier.