Female Students Kill Teacher Over Blasphemy in Pakistan

Another victim of Pakistan's dangerous blasphemy allegations has died. A teacher at a religious seminary school in Dera Ismail Khan, a city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was stabbed to death.

Safoora Bibi was killed on Tuesday, March 29, by two students and one of her colleagues. They claimed that a 13-year old child dreamt of Bibi committing blasphemy and wanted Bibi dead.

Allegations of blasphemy in dominantly Muslim countries like Pakistan are a dreadful experience. Despite being unproven, many of the allegations result in injury or, worse, death.

In February, a man was lynched by a mob for allegedly burning a Quran.

The country's laws also do nothing to discourage false allegations. It even exacerbates the situation, mainly for the alleged blasphemers. In January this year, Pakistan's court sentenced a woman to death for allegedly sharing "images deemed insulting to Islam's Prophet Muhammad."

Najam Hasnain Liaquat, a District Police officer, said that one of the murderer's relatives, a 13-year old girl, dreamt that "the victim had committed blasphemy against the Prophet and that the Prophet had ordered them to slaughter the victim."

The attackers were Umra Aman, 24-years old, her nieces, Razia Hanfi, 21-years old, and Ayesha Nomani, only 17 years of age. All of them are members of the Mehsud tribe living in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Police rushed to the crime scene after they were notified of the attack. The police would recover the knife used for the stabbing and some sticks. They arrested the attackers in their homes hours after the murder.

The victim's uncle said they saw her body in the street with her throat cut. Saghir Ahmed, a police officer, confirmed that the victim "died after her throat was slit."

Liaquat added that they were able to recover a notebook containing details of the dream that alleges the blasphemy. He said that investigators are also trying to access the mobile phones of the attackers.

According to the police report, the three planned their attack against the 21-year old victim, with Aman leading the plan. Aman, the victim's colleague, is being investigated by the police for a possible personal grudge that motivated that attack.

Saif ul Malook, a lawyer who had represented blasphemy cases, including Asia Bibi, called the incident unusual. Malook said he had not heard of blasphemy-related killings carried out by women.

Arafat Mazhar, Director of Engage Pakistan, a nonprofit group that seeks to reform blasphemy laws in Pakistan, is also suspicious of the attack. "When it comes to issues concerning ideals of honor and honor killing, women haven't been on the forefront," Mazhar said, speaking to VICE News.

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