Lift Blasphemy Charges on Pakistani Businessman

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Target: Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

Goal: Free Haji Nasrullah Khan from the blasphemy charges placed on him, and grant him government protection

In 2011, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula filmed the anti-Islam movie Innocence of Muslims. Videos were uploaded onto Youtube in 2012, allowing it to be spread and eventually shown on an Egyptian-Islamist television station. Riots quickly broke out in Egypt and Libya by those angered by the film, spreading eventually to other Muslim and Arab nations.

Recently hundreds of protestors gathered in Hyderabad, Pakistan and demanded that local businessman Haji Nasrullah Khan shut his 120 shops “in solidarity” over the film. He refused to do this, and as a result he was accused of supporting the film. Protestors alleged that Khan made insults about the Prophet during the argument that ensued, then proceeded to raid his house and surround the police station in order to force the police department into opening a blasphemy case against Khan. Under blasphemy laws, those who have defiled the Quran or insulted the Prophet Muhammad can be given the death penalty or life in prison. Local religious leaders later made a public announcement through the loudspeakers of one of the city’s largest mosques declaring that Khan should be killed.

It has been noted in the past that blasphemy laws are commonly abused in order harass or exploit others. In this case, there has been no actual evidence that Khan ever made insults, and it’s suspected that other shopkeepers made the accusations because Khan had tried to evict them. Khan and his family have gone into hiding for fear of being killed. Demand that the charges be lifted and that the Pakistani government provide protection or safe passage to a different location.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Ashraf,

Recently, Hyderabad businessman Haji Nasrullah Khan was accused of supporting the film Innocence of Muslims simply because he declined to close his shops “in solidarity”, a demand made by protestors of the film. As a result, Khan’s home was not only ransacked, but local mosque leaders publicly declared that he should be killed after the protestor mob pressured police into opening a blasphemy case against him.

There is no evidence to support the accusations made against Khan, and police suspect that the accusers made their claims in order to settle a personal dispute over late payments made to Khan. It has been made clear from police statements that the police themselves do not feel the claims to be warranted. Yet Khan and his family have had to go into hiding fearing for their lives.

As Prime Minister, it is your responsibility to ensure that your country’s laws do not go abused and exploited over petty disputes. Khan’s life is literally on the line, and whether or not he is killed, his livelihood is certainly in question. Moreover, his family is undeserving of the consequences of such violence. Please, see that the charges of blasphemy are lifted and that Haji Nasrullah Khan, along with his family, is given complete protection by your government and an offer to have him safely placed elsewhere.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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