Alleged blasphemy in PIMS seen as conspiracy

ISLAMABAD, June 7(Daily Times): The accusation of blasphemy against Christian nurses, particularly the principal of the nursing school of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), is a conspiracy to remove her from the post or transfer her, said Shahbaz Bhatti, chairman All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA).

Addressing a press conference here, he said that Christian students had denied the allegations against them and offered to prove their innocence at any forum.

He said that no Christian nurse could commit such an act as they respect all the religions and had great respect for Islam and the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

"The blasphemy case against the Christian student nurses is a blatant example of religious discrimination, there is absolutely no evidence against them," Bhatti said and asked, "Why they have been singled out and suspended without any independent investigation of the matter?"

He said that the principal of the nursing school, Stella Nazir, was on leave from May 14 to May 23, 2007, whereas the incident took place on May 17. "The suspension of the principal and student nurses is illegal, unethical and biased, as no evidence is provided nor any show cause notices were served before the suspension," he said. "If the principal can be suspended in such a manner then the other administration authorities should also be suspended," Bhatti said. "The registration of a blasphemy case requires an inquiry by an officer of the rank of superintendent of police (SP)," Bhatti said, adding that in the current case rules were bypassed.

He said that the FIR was lodged on June 1, 2007, 14 days after the occurrence of the alleged blasphemy at the PIMS as the incident took place on May 17. He added the date of incident mentioned in the FIR was May 27, which was incorrect and showed the "mala fide" intention and conspiracy against Christian nurses. "No action was taken against the Muslim student nurses who harassed the Christian nurses and called Jamia Hafsa students to terrorise the Christian nurses," he said. Bhatti said that the false allegations against the Christian nurses had damaged the environment of peaceful coexistence and interfaith harmony.

"There is no direct evidence and nobody is an eyewitness to the alleged blasphemy, the case is altogether based on ulterior motives of the vested interests," he claimed.

Bhatti condemned the act of harassment by Jamia Hafsa students against the Christian nurses and appealed to the acting chief justice of Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of this incident.

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