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Lahore Woman Rescued From Angry Mob As Officer Nominated For Top Police Honor

In a tense incident in Lahore, Pakistan, an upset crowd wrongly accused a woman of blasphemy, misunderstanding Arabic calligraphy on her dress. Swift action by Assistant Superintendent Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi and the police ensured her safety as hundreds gathered outside a local restaurant.

The woman, who later apologized publicly, wore a dress with the Arabic word “Halwa,” meaning beautiful. However, onlookers, thinking it represented Quranic verses, considered it blasphemy—a serious charge in Pakistan.

Ms. Shehrbano Naqvi, known for her brave response, described negotiating with the crowd to ensure the woman’s safety. Social media videos captured the tension, showing the woman surrounded by officers acting as a barrier between her and the agitated crowd.

Standing firm at the restaurant entrance, Ms. Shehrbano Naqvi worked to restore order, emphasizing the difficulty: “Nobody actually knew what was written on the shirt.” Their primary goal was the woman’s safety, with accountability promised for any potential crime.

Escorted to a police station, religious scholars confirmed the Arabic calligraphy on her dress was not Quranic verses. A video recording of the scholars’ findings affirmed the woman’s innocence.

Expressing regret, the woman stated, “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,” underscoring her commitment to avoiding blasphemy.

Authorities revealed the woman, who was in Lahore for shopping, has since left the city. Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, a former adviser on religious affairs, criticized the crowd on social media, suggesting the men in the gathering should apologize.

The Punjab police have nominated Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi for the Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal. Punjab IGP Dr. Usman Anwar’s statement on the Punjab Police’s official Twitter account reads, “ASP Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi, the brave SDPO of [Gulberg] Lahore, put her life in danger to rescue a woman from a violent crowd. For this heroic deed, the Punjab Police has recommended her name for the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal (QPM), the highest gallantry award for law enforcement in Pakistan.” This recognition highlights her exceptional bravery in diffusing a volatile situation and protecting an innocent woman from potential harm.

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