HYDERABAD - A businessman who has been accused of blasphemy, has gone underground and wanted religious leaders to hear his viewpoint after he was booked in a blasphemy case with Hatri police, a media report said.

Haji Nasrullah owns a market at Hala Naka area, off National Highway. He originally comes from Mohmand Agency and is chairman of the local shopkeepers association, according to the report.

According to Munir Abbasi, a police officer of Hatri police station, Nasrullah was booked under sections 295-B and C on complaint of Kachkol Khan for uttering blasphemous words in respect of the Holy Prophet.

Blasphemy is punishable by life in prison or death under Pakistani laws. Human rights groups and civil society organisations often call for repealing it on the ground that it is badly misused, particularly against religious minorities for settling personal scores.

Abbasi explains that trouble began on Sunday night when the city observed a strike against an anti-Islam film.

“Some protesters wanted shops at the Hala Naka area closed in protest against the anti-Islam movie to which Nasrullah objected”, he said.

According to Azam Jehangiri, some shopkeepers including president of the association Najeeb Ahmed reported the matter to a Mufti and said that Nasrullah used some very objectionable remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet.

“Mufti Ashfaq asked whether he has witnesses to substantiate his claim, he accordingly produced those witnesses,” Jehangiri recalls.

Subsequently, Abbasi says, after a brief gathering in the area’s mosque, scores of outraged religious parties activists and seminary students tried to attack Nasrullah’s house, leading to a clash.

As a result of firing, three persons namely Abdul Baseer and Mohammad Afzal (who were among protesters) and Qamaruzzaman brother of Haji Nasrullah received injuries.

“Nasrullah got his FIR of attempted murder lodged against protesters also”, he said.