Christian Woman's Arrest on Blasphemy Accusation Sparks Fear and Protest Among Minorities

Lahore, June 7, 2024 – The Lahore police have arrested Jamila Jacob, a Christian woman, on charges of committing blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The arrest followed an FIR filed at the North Cantonment police station by Asif Ali, a local shopkeeper.


According to the FIR, Asif Ali reported that at approximately 6:30 AM on June 4, Jamila visited his shop to purchase Sunsilk shampoo. Dissatisfied with the product, she requested another brand. During this exchange, Ali alleges that Jamila noticed an Islamic religious inscription in the shop and began making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Ali claims that Jamila said, “Jesus Christ is better than your prophet,” and continued to make blasphemous comments. The FIR states that Wajid Ali, Usman Ali, and other shopkeepers witnessed the incident.


Based on the complaint, Jamila was arrested from her home, and an FIR was swiftly registered under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. This section deals with blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad and carries severe penalties, including the death penalty. Jamila, who is reported to be mentally challenged, was taken into custody amidst rising tensions in the area.


Eyewitnesses and neighbours have provided conflicting accounts, suggesting that the altercation was minor and did not involve any blasphemous remarks. Despite this, the shopkeeper's complaint led to her immediate arrest, triggering a swift and severe response from the community. As news of the alleged blasphemy spread, a mob gathered and demanded her arrest.


Human rights organizations and civil society groups have condemned the arrest and the subsequent violence. They argue that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often misused to target religious minorities and settle personal scores. Activists have called for a thorough and impartial investigation and the immediate release of Jamila.


The latest case of blasphemy against Jamila has heightened fears among the Christian community, who feel increasingly insecure. The Christian community in Lahore and across Pakistan is calling for urgent legal reforms to prevent the misuse of blasphemy laws and to ensure justice and protection for all citizens.


Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List of the most difficult places to be a Christian, as it was the previous year. The misuse of blasphemy laws for settling personal grudges has become alarmingly common, with little action taken by the government to safeguard the rights and safety of minorities.


As Jamila’s  case unfolds, the national and international community are closely watching how Pakistan addresses this critical human rights issue. For further updates, stay tuned to reliable news sources and human rights organizations' reports.