Two Christians Charged Under Blasphemy Law in Kasur, Punjab.
Lahore: March 2, 2009. (SLMP report) Two Christians named Wallayat Masih son of Saraina Masih alias Sala resident of village Maloki District Kasur and Mushtaq Masih son of Sooba Masih resident of Kareem Park Bank Stop Lahore have been charged under blasphemy law vide case registered vide First Information Report (FIR) No. 33 dated 1st March 2009, under section 295 B & C with police station Theh Shaikham District Kasur, both have been arrested and presently detained in the local police station.
7 team members from CLAAS and SLMP visited village Maloki for fact finding today on 2nd March 2009. Mr. Joseph Francis the National Director Center for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement (CLAAS) and Chief Coordinator Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan (SLMP) led the team
Malooki village is situated at about 30KM away from main city area Kasur. It is about 70KM away from SLMP office. The village is consisted more than 500 Muslim families while there are 50-60 Christian families. Christian are not so well of most of them serve Muslims as a field labourer some Christians do labour at brick kiln. Very few Christian are little education. There is only one small Church in the village which has no pastor to conduct prayer meeting properly. The area is very backward SLMP team keenly observed that Muslim people are very fanatic and fundamental there.
When SLMP team reached the village the Christian villagers arranged sitting for the team in the Church. It was very horrible that the Muslim clerics was announcing in the loud speaker of the mosque to the Muslims to be gathered in graveyard against Christians. SLMP team saw that the situation was very tense over there.
According to the facts collected by SLMP & CLAAS team, there was an old man named Mohari dead for about 15 years ago. He was in so called business of praying for people and to call the souls of dead. There were some followers of Mohari, Wallayat Masih is a nominal Christian. He is also one of the followers of Mohari (Late). On 1st March 2009, Wallayat Masih arranged a festival in remembrance of Mohari. He called his Muslim friends and followers of Mohari from Lahore. Mushtaq Masih resident of Lahore, also accompanied Wallayat Masih, whereas the Muslim followers of Mohari took green cloth sheets contained named of Mohari and his sons, some names of Hindu Saints and some Muslim prophets. There were some also sheets containing Quranic verses. They spread the cloth sheets on the grave of Mohari. The drum was been played in the graveyard to celebrate the event. There were about 20-25 people including Wallayat and Mushtaq celebrating the festival in remembrance of Mohari. It to pertinent to mention here that such kind of activities traditionally happens in Muslim life here in Pakistan.
When local Muslims saw the event they made objection on Wallayat Masih. They also made objection that the followers of Mohari have been spread holy sheets on a Christian’s grave. They accused Wallayat, Mushtaq and their Muslim friends of disgracing name of Muslims Saints. They clutched Wallayat and Mushtaq and tortured them severely. Their Muslim friends saved their skin saying that they were unaware about Mohari’s religions that he was Christian. They said that Wallayat and Mushtaq misguided them that Baba Mohari is from family of a famous Muslim old named Baba Bulahy Shah.
When the Muslims were beating Wallayat and Mushtaq somebody called police. Police came and rescued Wallayat and Mushtaq from the clutched of Muslims. The large number of Muslim Protestants from village Malooki and 6, 7 nearby villages put pressure on police to hand over the culprits (they wanted to kill them.) or to registered case against them. Police lodged FIR against Wallayat and Mushtaq under section 295 B and C (translation of FIR is under here).
Translation of FIR
FIR No: 33 dated 1st March 2009
Offence under Section: 295 B & C of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC)
Name of Complainant: Rana Anwar Khan son of Fateh Khan caste Rajppoot, resident of Maloki District Kasur
The Station House Officer (SHO)
Theh Shaikham Police Station
The application hereby seeks registration of case against Wallayat alias Salah son Saraina Maish resident of Maloki Police Station Theh Shaikham, and Mushtaq Masih son of Sooba Masih resident of Kareem Park Bank Stop Dera Chaudhry Mehar Bilu Lahore. Respected Sir, it is requested that today on 1st March 2009 at about 11:00am there was a festival in graveyard of Christians, the villagers wanted to participate in the festival. There some eunuchs were dancing and drum was being played. Wallayat alias Salah organized the festival. Some respectable of the village named Chaudhry Mansha son of Ali Mohammad caste Jutt resident of Maloki, Rana Akber Khan son of Fatah Mohammad caste Rajpoot, Malak Mohammad Ali son of Umer Deen resident of Maloki, Doctor Mohammad Asif son of Jhanda caste Arayeen resident of Maloki went there and saw that there were Holy Sheets containing Quranic verses, Bismillah Sharif, Qalma Tayyabah and four QUL (holy names) on them spread on the grave of a Christian named Mohari. We have been hurt by this filthy act, and this has been injured the feelings of Muslims. A Muslim present there named Mohammad Ashiq son of Umer Deen caste Malak resident of Atari Lahore told that Mushtaq son of Suba caste Christian resident of Kareem Park Bank Stop, near Dear Mehr Billo, has taken people from Lahore deceptively to attend the festival and Wallayat Masih organized that festival by saying the people that there is a Saint from Baba Bulhay Shah’s family. He urged people to spread holy sheets on the grave, but when we reached here we saw this was unholy act. There were eight holy sheets spread on the grave which we have been removed. It is requested that legal action against above cited accused persons may kindly be made.
Rana Muhammad Anwar
Some Important Statement:
SLMP team interviewed some villagers and relatives of Wallayat Masih. The statements are as under.
Sakeena Bibi wife of Wallayat Masih
On asking SLMP team member Sakeena told, “I got married with Wallayat Masih about 26 years ago. I had six children out of this wed lock. But unfortunately all of them died. My husband and I was much concern about our off springs. About eighteen years ago, my husband went to Baba Mohari and asked him to pray for a child. Then we got a son, we believe that we got the son with prays of Baba Mohari. My husband started following Mohari since we got son. After the death of Mohari my husband continue to visit Mohari’s grave. Then we also got a second child. On the day of occurrence my husband arranged a festival in remembrance of Mohari. It was first event by its nature. But unfortunately the incident took place. Muslims of the village threatened me and my children while husband is already implicated in a case and got arrested. I am afraid of my Muslim fellow villagers. They can easily attack me to kill.”
Daran Bibi mother of Wallayat Masih
Daran Bibi aged about 70 years old is the mother of Wallayat Masih. When SLMP interviewed Daran Bibi she was very upset and was weeping. She told that she has six sons all of his sons go to Church and are good Christian believer except Wallayat Masih. Only he was the follower of dead Mohari. Further she told, “On the day of occurrence when I came to know the Muslims are beating my son Wallayat in the graveyard, I couldn’t stop myself to go there after all he is my son, I begged Muslims to forgive Wallayat. I bowed my head on their feet and asked them not to torture to leave him but all in vain. A Muslim cleric abused me kicked me off. They tortured my son severely and handed him over to the police and I couldn’t do anything to save my son.”
Saraina Masih father of Wallayat Masih
Saraina Masih father of Wallayat Masih is about 75 years old. He is partially deaf. SLMP team hardly talked to him and asked about the situation. He told, “It has fifteen years passed Mohari has been died. We didn’t see any festival or programme in his remembrance. I am ashamed of my son Wallayat wrong doings. I believe in one God and His Son. I can just pray for my son that God may change his life and his heart for Jesus Christ. I also pray that God may protect him. I am sorry for this entire tough situation my Christian fellow villagers are facing because of my son.”
Saleema Bibi (the fellow villager)
Saleema bibi is about 35 years old a Christian lady. She told to SLMP team, “On the day of occurrence Muslim were very aggressive. The cleric of local mosque named Muhammad Amin announced about the incident in the loud speaker of the mosque. He called all the Muslims of the village and nearby villages to be gathered against blasphemers. That was terrible. We all were afraid of aggressive Muslims. I along with some of other Christian villagers came into the Church and saved Holy Bibles and furniture of Church because Muslims were planning to set Church on fire. I made phone calls to some Christian elders in Kasur and Lahore to help us out. I am very thankful to you for being here to support us. I hope God will help us with His powerful hands.”
Superintendent of Police visits place of occurrence
Today Superintendent of Police visited the place of occurrence. SLMP team also went there. There were hundreds were Muslims were gathered there. Muslims were raising slogans. They were asking severe legal action against Wallayat and Mushtaq. Some of them were asking to kill both Christians. The police officer (SP) assured SLMP team that he will investigate the matter on merits. Muslim clerics were very aggressive. SLMP team observe the tense situation in the village because Muslim villagers were threatening Christians openly even in the presence of police officials.
Legal Situation of the case
According to the law, the FIR does not fall under section 295 B & C of Pakistan Penal Code, because there are not any direct derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad. Section 295-C falls when someone passes derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad and there is death sentence of this section. Police do not investigate the matter and just lodged the FIR due to pressure of Muslim villagers. We hope the case will be blown in law court, when it will be presented for trial.
This blasphemy case has been registered without any investigation. Mr. Sohail Johnson, Chief Coordinator of Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, condemns the illegality and implication of Wallayat Masih and Mushtaq Masih. He also urged Christian brothers and sisters to pray for the protection of Christian villager of Malooki. It also desperate needs to pray for Wallayat and Mushtaq that God may change their lives. They may come to God and realize His compassionate love to them. They may know that Jesus Christ is life; He is the light and way.