As you may be aware, allegations of blasphemy were laid against a 17-year-old Pakistani Christian named Patras Masih last week in Shahdara, Pakistan. The allegations, spread through loud speakers from the local mosque, stated that Patras shared blasphemous content on social media, following which religious groups demanded his arrest. The Christian community residing in the immediate area has been forced to hide or flee from their homes due to the growing violence and threats leveled at them. An FIR registered against Patras under the Blasphemy Law, 295-C, carries a mandatory death sentence.
Patras and his cousin, Sajid Masih, were taken into custody on February 23, 2018, where Sajid reportedly fell off of the fourth floor of the building, resulting in serious injuries. It has since been revealed that Sajid and Patras were both brutally tortured and forced to sexually assault one another while in custody at the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) cyber crime wing in Punjab, which led to Sajid's attempt to escape. It is significant to note that members of the religious party that incited violence against the accused in Shahdara were present at the FIA building whilst the investigation was taking place; something that is highly peculiar and irregular. Sajid Masih is currently recovering in hospital in critical condition.
International Christian Voice strongly condemns the violent, barbaric, and inhuman treatment of Patras and Sajid Masih at the hands of FIA officials. Pakistani law enforcement authorities have continually undermined the basic rights of religious minorities in Pakistan, inciting violence against those accused on baseless allegations under the country's Blasphemy Laws.
The failure of the police and federal law enforcement to protect the safety of the accused is extremely disconcerting and despicable and their torturous practices are unacceptable.
We strongly urge the Pakistani government to hold to account and reprimand those responsible for these heinous acts.
Please pray for Sajid and Patras Masih, as well as the entire Christian community in Pakistan that continues to be victimized and persecuted for their Christian belief.
International Christian Voice