A hate campaign has been launched against the family of a teenage Christian girl accused of blasphemy and expelled from school in the northern Pakistani town of Havelian, a media report said on Monday.
An SMS campaign against the family of Faryal Bhatti has created panic among the 12 other Christian families living in the Pakistan Ordinance Factories colony at Havelian near Abbottabad.
Bhatti, an eighth grade student of Sir Syed Girls' High School, misspelt the word 'naat' (hymn) as 'laanat' (curse) in an Urdu examination last week.
She made the mistake while answering a question on a poem written in praise of Prophet Mohammed. The error led to accusations of blasphemy against Bhatti and uproar among Muslim religious leaders.
Though she apologised, Bhatti was expelled from school and her mother, Sarafeen Bhatti, a staff nurse at the POF Hospital in Havelian, was transferred to the Wah Cantonment Hospital.
Officials of the POF colony in Havelian directed Bhatti's family to vacate their residential quarters. The family has moved to an unknown location, The Express Tribune reported.
"Although we have been living peacefully with the Muslim community for three decades, following this episode no one can say with any guarantee what they (Muslims) are harbouring in their minds now," an elderly Christian man, who did not want to be identified, told the daily.
However, Muslim scholars and civil society activists have organised protests and opposed Bhatti's expulsion from school. They demanded an inquiry into the actions of the school administration.
Muhammad Aslam Khaki, an advocate of the Supreme Court and a "juris consult" of the Federal Shariah Court (FSC), said the FSC had clearly ruled in a case that if an accused had acted unintentionally, then the act could be pardoned.
He said the FSC had ruled that the offence of blasphemy is 'Hadd' and that there is a clear verdict by the Prophet Mohammed that the 'hadood' must be spared if there is doubt.
In this case, the doubt arose from the girl's young age and the similarity between the two words, he said. Mufti Naeem of Jamia Naeemia in Karachi and Allama Asghar Askari, President of the Punjab chapter of the Majlis-e-Wahdul Muslimeen, both said Bhatti should be pardoned.
Other religious scholars who came to the girl's defence included Sajid Mir, head of the Jamiat Ahle Hadith, and Mufti Muhammad Khan Qadri, convenor of the Milli Majlis-e- Sharai.
Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi, a spokesman for the Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz, blamed Bhatti's teacher for the incident.
"The real culprit is the man who set this question paper for the Christian girl. If you are not taught Islam during your childhood then even a Muslim student can make such a mistake," he said.