Police officer in Pakistan is praised for saving woman accused of blasphemy by angry mob

Trending 1 month ago

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A constabulary serviceman successful Pakistan is being hailed arsenic a leader aft she protected a female from a furious mob accusing her of blasphemy complete what she was wearing.

Sheher Bano, an adjunct superintendent of constabulary successful nan metropolis of Lahore, “put her life successful danger” to rescue nan female aft colorful Arabic calligraphy connected her outfit was mistaken for verses from nan Quran, nan Muslim beatified book, said Usman Anwar, constabulary inspector wide of Punjab province.

Blasphemy is simply a highly delicate rumor successful Muslim-majority Pakistan, wherever it is punishable by death. Accusations person led to convulsive assaults, detentions and mob lynchings.

In a ceremonial successful Rawalpindi connected Wednesday, Bano received Pakistan’s highest grant successful rule enforcement from nan country’s military, which called her “fearless.”

Police first received a telephone past Sunday day that a crowd of dozens had gathered extracurricular a edifice successful a engaged shopping area of Lahore. The crowd accused nan unnamed female of committing blasphemy pinch her kurta, a agelong loose garment that resembles a collarless shirt, and demanded that she region it.

“My first and contiguous work was to instantly displacement nan female from there,” Bano told NBC News successful a telephone question and reply connected Friday. She said she tried shielding nan woman, who sat panicking successful a area arsenic nan angry mob grew outside.

“This female has disrespected nan Quran,” a man is heard telling a constabulary serviceman successful a wide circulated video connected societal media.

In a video posted Monday connected Facebook by Punjab Police, Bano tin beryllium seen pleading pinch nan crowd.

“Since a twelvemonth I’ve been serving this area arsenic nan ASP,” she said, referring to her title arsenic adjunct superintendent of police. “You should beryllium capable to spot us.”

Bano past went backmost wrong nan restaurant, covering nan female successful a head-to-toe achromatic clothes and aureate headscarf earlier pulling her out. She pushed done nan crowd surrounded by constabulary officers, trying to get nan female to safety.

The female was moved to a constabulary station, Bano said, arsenic mobs began forming astir different constabulary stations successful nan area. Officials past brought successful section scholars and clerics, including immoderate who had been successful nan angry crowd.

They looked astatine nan calligraphy connected nan dress and concluded it did not incorporate immoderate Quranic verses, apologizing for their misunderstanding.

A constabulary serviceman who saved a female accused of blasphemy from a mob of 200 men successful eastbound Pakistan has described really she had to discuss pinch nan crowd to lead her to safety. Sheher Bano, an adjunct superintendent pinch Punjab Police, astatine her agency successful Lahore connected Tuesday.Murtaza Syed / AFP - Getty Images

Bano said nan dress was alternatively printed pinch nan Arabic connection “helwa,” which intends beautiful.

The female wearing nan kurta apologized successful a video later posted connected Facebook by Lahore Police.

“It was not intentional and happened by mistake,” she said. “I conscionable bought this kurta reasoning it was a design.”

“I still apologize,” she said, adding that she is simply a devout Muslim and would ne'er perpetrate blasphemy.

Blasphemy was codified successful rule nether British assemblage norm and later expanded by nan Pakistani government. Officials are nether unit to alteration nan laws, which authorities groups opportunity are often utilized to intimidate nan country’s belief minorities.

Last year, a man suspected of blasphemy was pulled from his compartment astatine a constabulary position successful Punjab state and lynched extracurricular by an angry mob.

At slightest 56 group remained successful constabulary custody complete blasphemy allegations arsenic of December 2023, according to a report by nan U.S. Commission connected International Religious Freedom.

Mushtaq Yusufzai reported from Peshawar, Pakistan, and Mithil Aggarwal reported from Hong Kong.

Mushtaq Yusufzai

Mushtaq Yusufzai is simply a journalist based successful Peshawar, Pakistan.

Mithil Aggarwal

Mithil Aggarwal is simply a Hong Kong-based reporter/producer for NBC News.