London: Saleem Masih (22 yrs) was beaten to death for rinsing himself off in the tube well of Muslim land owners in Choonia District, Kasur. It should be noted that many Muslim men have been permitted to rinse themselves off in the well for many years, however it was the fact that a ‘ritually unclean’ Christian dared to use the well in this fashion that led to his murder.
British Asian Christian Association have been paying for a solicitor to help Ghafoor Masih (56 years) father of Saleem Masih get justice. But have been facing intolerable delays (well in any other country) due to an intentionally fudged police investigation. Police failed to charge the two murderers who have already admitted to have killed Saleem Masih, but claim it was because he stole some turmeric and potatoes (as if this was a justified defence). Moreover, police, judges and the defendents have been failing to turn up to court causing unecessary postonements.
On 8th April 2021, arguments were partially heard from both parties and the court was adjourned for 10th April.
On 10th April, Honorable Additional Sessions Judge, for District Court Chunian, Miss Aysha Khalid heard the arguments from both sets of solicitors. At the end of the session she ordered the inclusion of Shera Dogar and Ali (the murderers) in the investigation.
The order of the court narrates as follows:
“The involvement of the accused persons shall be determined in a fair trial and on the basis of a preliminary inquiry, there is sufficient material to proceed this matter further.”
The court had summoned Shera Dogar and Ali, the two accused of the murder of Saleem Masih, to court for 26th April.
Sumaira Hussain further explained, she said:
"The police investigation was mala fide (in bad faith) and I requested for the court to examine it.
"My argument was supported by the statement of Ghafoor Masih and the Honorable Judge was satisfied."
It is believed that the summons issued to the names of Shera Dogar and Ali Shehzad has created greater impetus towards justice.
On 26th April Shera Dogar and Ali Shehzad did not present themselves before the court. The Judge was annoyed over it and had marked their absence from the court. A notice was issued demanding that they present themselves before court on the next hearing on 19th May.
On 19th May the two men again failed to present themselves before court and though Judge Ayesha Khalid was visibly annoyed with the repeated failure to arraive at court, she was willing to continue the pattern of postponements. However our solicitor argued that continual postponements have caused justice to be delayed in the serious matter of a murder investigation and the judge agreed.
Now any further failure to attend court at the next hearing on 17th June 2021 will result in an automatic decision against the two murderers meaning that our fight for justice for Ghafoor Masih, in the murder trial for his son Saleem Masih should finally bring a just decision.
Ghafoor Masih and his family continue to be threatened and bullieed by cohorts of the two accused murderers. They have been offered bribes to drop the charges which under Pakistan's very controversial Qisas and Diyat laws would result in the acquittal of the two men under Sharia laws of 'forgiveness for a price'. However, Ghafoor and his family have bravely shunned the threats and bribes in order to see justice for their loved deceased son.
Ghafoor Masih spoke about his struggles, he said:
“I could not travel to court for being ill on 19th May but I sent my son for the court hearing.
" Someone who knows the accused men warned my son at the court that something would happen if we continue our battle.
“The person said 'You know what we can do.'
"Sometimes I am really frightened because the two murderers are wealthy landlords and very influential.
"I can not bear another loss in my family but must also seek justice for my murdered sons and protect others from a similar fate."
“Saleem was so dear to me.
"He was the one who worked hard to earn for the family.
"I can not forget him.
His mother wakes up during the night and cries for him and I can offer her no solace till justice is done."
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
"We are ostensibly reaching the end of this long murder trial that has been delayed for no other reason than a lack of desire in Pakistan for justice for Christian.
"Christian cases are subject to postponement at whim and police investigations are often corrupted.
"Delays are believed by the Christian community to be part of a design to force Christians to accept bribes and drop cases so Muslim murderers and rapists can escape justice.
"Police authorities and courts involved in corruption are rarely investigated so the Judicial status quo continues."
Protecting the family of Ghafoor Masih and the cost for the legal battle are expensive and we cannot continue to do this without your help. We are also assisting many other persecuted Christians in Pakistan and Thailand who rely on our help. I