Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Qamar David, a Christian originally from Lahore Pakistan, but living in Karachi died in prison while serving a life sentence for blasphemy. Official sources confirm that the man died last night in his cell, after a heart attack. in the past he had suffered several episodes of violence within the prison walls. Human rights activists are calling for an investigation to ascertain the "true causes" of death. Interviewed by AsiaNews, the bishop of Islamabad speaks of "false accusations" against David fabricated to convict him and asks "how much Christian blood will still flow," before the infamous blasphemy laws are "abolished."
Qamar David was a native of Hamza, near Lahore (Punjab), but was a self employed painter in Karachi in the south of the country. On 8 June 2006 he was reported by a business rival on false charges of blasphemy in accordance with Articles 295 and C of the Pakistan Penal Code. According to the plaintiff, he sent telephone messages with insulting words against Muhammad.
Under the controversial blasphemy rules, introduced in 1986 by Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq, anyone who uses derogatory phrases to refer to the prophet or desecrates the Koran is punishable by death or life imprisonment. Typically, capital cases are switched to life imprisonment. On 25 February 2010, the Karachi court adjunct Judge Jangu Khan, found him guilty of "outrageous" words against Muhammad, and exclusively based on the "black law" and the testimony of his accuser, David Qamar was sentenced to prison for life.
The man died overnight in prison and prison authorities have tried to pass his death off as a heart attack. The Police Commissioner said that the body is being held in the Civil Hospital, Karachi, available to health authorities for an autopsy, which should shed light on the real cause of death. (Read more.)