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Woman Wearing ‘Halwa’ Dress Faces Mob Fury in Pakistan | – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: In Pakistan, a woman became the center of a blasphemy accusation due to her dress adorned with Arabic script, leading to a mob’s outrage. The situation escalated quickly as hundreds gathered, mistaking the Arabic calligraphy for verses from the Quran.
What happened
The woman, who was wearing a dress printed with the word “Halwa,” meaning ‘beautiful’ in Arabic, found herself surrounded by an angry crowd of around 300 outside a Lahore restaurant.The police had to intervene and escort her to safety amidst the chaos.
A widely shared video on social platforms displayed the woman encircled by an aggressive group, yelling and some even demanding her execution.
The video displayed the young woman refuting claims of disrespecting the faith, saying she had no intentional wrongdoing as attire featuring Arabic script is frequently worn in Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, a Dawn report said.
Additionally, the merchants supported her statements, indicating that the fashion industry has promoted apparel adorned with Islamic/Arabic script, and the letters and phrases on her garment were unrelated to sacred texts.

Pakistani woman attacked by mob for wearing a dress with Arabic texts, Saved by brave female cop

The response

Police played a crucial role in defusing the situation. ASP Shehr Bano addressed the crowd, attempting to persuade them that the girl had not committed any blasphemous act.
“During my service, I have handled three such incidents, and you should have trust in us [police],” she was recorded saying to the crowd. She then shielded the girl and personally led her away from the throng, as seen in the footage.
The police clarified that the term ‘Halwa’, which appeared in Arabic script on the girl’s attire, did not represent a sacred word.

The outcome

After being taken to a police station, it was confirmed by religious scholars that the dress did not contain Quranic verses but merely Arabic calligraphy. The woman issued a public apology, saying, “I didn’t have any such intention, it happened by mistake. Still, I apologize for all that happened, and I’ll make sure it never happens again.”
Arif Azakia, a specialist in South Asian topics, commented on X, “The coalition between mullahs and the military has driven Pakistan to this predicament, a woman donned attire with Arabic phrases (not from the Quran), and she was seized and tormented by Labaik Mullah. She was coerced into apologizing, necessitating police intervention.”
Online commentators mentioned that the woman’s attire, which led to the severe reaction, did not contain verses from the Quran, and those who were accusing her could not decipher Arabic script.
Several online users remarked that her attire, which sparked the intense confrontation, bore the term ‘Halwa’, which translates to ‘beautiful and sweet’.

Broader implications

The incident highlights the volatile nature of blasphemy accusations in Pakistan, where such charges can lead to severe consequences, even without formal legal proceedings.

Historical context

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan, originally established by British rulers, were expanded in the 1980s. These laws have since led to numerous controversial incidents, underscoring the delicate balance between religious sentiment and legal justice in the country.
(With inputs from agencies)





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