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Woman in Arabic-script dress saved from mob in Pakistan

Published:

ISLAMABAD: Prompt

police intervention

saved a young girl in an Arabic calligraphy dress from a mob in

Lahore

’s busy

Ichra Bazaar

on Sunday. The mob had accused her of blasphemy.
Someone in the market claimed Quranic verses were written on a woman’s dress at a garment shop when it was actually the word “Halwa” in Arabic, meaning beautiful.
The situation turned ugly as more than 300 people — customers, visitors and passersby — forced the woman into a nearby restaurant and demanded she remove the dress.

However, some garment traders came to her aid and called police for help.

One video clip shared on social media showed the girl, visibly scared, in a corner of the restaurant, hiding her face with her hands. A man can be heard in the video asking her to remove the garment or it would be forcefully removed from her.
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in

Pakistan

where mere allegations have resulted in the public lynching of several people across the country.
In another video, she is surrounded by police officers, who had formed a barrier between her and a growing crowd, with a senior woman police officer, Shehr Bano, addressing the mob and trying to convince them that no blasphemous act had been committed. She explained that the meaning of the word written on the girl’s dress was not holy.

“We will take the woman with us, her actions are going to be taken into account, and we’re going to hold her responsible for whatever crime committed as per the law of the land,” she told the crowd to pacify them.
The footage later showed Shehrbano putting her arm around the woman, now wearing a black robe and a headscarf, and escorting her out of the area through a path cleared by other police personnel. Shehrbano said many protesters were supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline party.
“Had I not screamed, and had I not convinced the crowd that we will do something about it, it would have turned nastier… Thank God,” she later told media.
In her statement, the woman later strongly rejected the allegations and made a public apology. “I didn’t have any such intention, it happened by mistake. Still, I apologise for all that happened, and I’ll make sure it never happens again,” she said, adding that she is a devout Muslim and would never blaspheme.

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