LAHORE, Pakistan — A Christian man charged with blasphemy was not allowed to attend his bail hearing, apparently to appease the accusers.
Morning Star News, quoting attorney Aneeqa Maria, reports that Haroon Shahzad was granted pre-arrest bail July 3 before being taken into protective custody, but police kept him from attending his bail hearing July 11.
“They knew he would get bail on merit, which is why they deliberately kept him from appearing before the judge,” Maria said.
The mention of the case being considered produced angry outbursts from Muslim extremists in the courtroom, Maria said. “They shouted slogans against Shahzad, demanding that he be punished and vowing to step up protests in case he was freed on bail.”
Shahzad was charged June 30 with insulting religious beliefs for posting Bible verses on Facebook. Muslims were so furious about the posting that dozens of Christian families fled their homes in Chak 49 Shumaali village, fearing retribution.
The Muslim who lodged the complaint against Shahzad reportedly has a grudge against Shahzad, sources told Morning Star.
Pakistan is No. 7 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.