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Pakistan probes alleged sacrilege of Koran verses

Sunday, 3 June 2007 - 6:54pm IST | Agency: AFP
Pakistani authorities said they were investigating allegations that verses of the Koran had been desecrated at a nursing school in the capital.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities on Sunday said they were investigating allegations that verses of the Koran had been desecrated at a nursing school in the capital.


The incident came to light on Friday when dozens of female students of a hardline Islamist seminary stormed the nursing hostel saying they had received complaints from Muslim students. 


'We are holding an inquiry into the incident,' deputy administrator of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Raja Amjad Mehmood said.


 He said three to four people including the acting principal and students had been suspended until the inquiry was completed.


"The complaints came from students that unknown people had scribbled lines over the verses of Holy Koran which were pasted on a wall in their hostel," Mehmood said. 


'We have also informed the police about the incident,' he said and added that the inquiry was expected to be completed by Tuesday.


He said the school, which has more than 200 students, was closed on Saturday on account of the summer vacation, but Islamist students alleged it had been shut down to defuse the situation.


Blasphemy in Pakistan is punishable by death, although no one has ever been executed for the crime. The law applies to Muslims and non-Muslims.


Christians, who make up less than three percent of Pakistan's population of 160 million, say the blasphemy laws are used as an excuse to victimise them.


Meanwhile, the student action committee of Jamia Hafsa, the female seminary attached to the hardline Red Mosque, said some Muslim students had complained that Christian teachers and students had desecrated verses of the Koran. 


"We will hold a conference on 'Dignity of the Koran' on Monday and have invited all local female doctors, nurses and women from all walks of life to deal with the issue," it said.


The mosque's male and female students have also launched anti-vice patrols, targeting music and video shops and still occupy a government children's library they took over in January in protest against the demolition of mosques that the authorities said were built illegally. 


 




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