Christian couple charged with blasphemy in Gojra

A Christian couple in Gojra has been charged under the blasphemy law for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages to a local Muslim, Pakistan Today has learnt.

According to details, the Gojra City Police Station registered a case [FIR No. 407/13] under Section 295-C of the country’s blasphemy law against Shafqat Masih, 43, and his wife Shagufta, 40, on Sunday on a complaint filed by one Rana Muhammad Ejaz who alleged that he had received blasphemous text messages from a number registered in the name of Shagufta.

Gojra City Police Station House Officer Inspector Muhammad Nisar told Pakistan Today that the police had verified that the SIM used to send the blasphemous text messages was registered in Shagufta’s name while her husband had “admitted” using it in his phone to send the messages to Ejaz.

Shagufta works at Gojra’s Saint John’s School as a maid. Her husband is physically handicapped but takes care of the campus as a night watchman. The couple reportedly has four children between the ages of five and 11.

Inspector Nisar said that Shafqat had admitted to his “crime” when taken into custody and his confession remained unchanged before a judicial magistrate.

 

POLICE HOSTILE

 

Rufus Solomon, a minorities leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party told Pakistan Today that he had visited Gojra to enquire about the incident as the local Christians had informed him of a tense situation developing in the area which has previously seen a violent attack by enraged Muslims in 2009. Eight Christians were burnt alive and about 40 houses and a church were set on fire by the mobs following allegations that local Christians had desecrated the Holy Quran.

“The police were very hostile and refused to share their investigation with us. They even refused to hand over a copy of the FIR to us, claiming that the Faisalabad Regional Police Officer (RPO) had ordered them to seal it because of the sensitivity of the situation. But the SHO was lying as we managed to get a copy of the FIR from the very police station after a few hours. This one action of the police makes the case suspicious,” said Solomon.

Solomon called for an independent enquiry into the incident, lamenting that cases of persecution of minorities rise in Punjab whenever the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is in government. “Shafqat’s statement could have been taken forcibly to appease the mobs. If he has committed the crime then he should be dealt with according to the law but the case must be investigated on merit. The life of two people is at stake therefore the chief minister should ensure that justice is administered,” he said.

 

ACCUSED SAYS ‘CONFESSION FORCED’

 

Sources have meanwhile told Pakistan Today that Shafqat has denied sending the blasphemous text messages. “Shafqat says the couple has been framed in a false case. He says that the police had forced him to record his confession before the magistrate,” said an official of a local Christian rights outfit, requesting not to be named.

Although the official has not visited the accused couple in jail himself, he claimed that two lawyers representing his NGO had met with Shafqat and recorded his statement. “The case is quite complex as we have yet to find out the truth,” he said.

Napolean Qayyum, a minorities leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, said that it was alarming that Christians were increasingly being accused of blasphemy through text messages.

“This is the third incident of this nature where Christians have been booked for allegedly sending blasphemous content via cell phones. The first case was registered in Karachi against Qamar David who was allegedly killed in Karachi Central Prison a couple of years ago. The second case involved a Christian youth, Sajjad Masih who was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined Rs 200,000 by a Gojra trial court two weeks ago,” he said.



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19 Comments

  1. AmericanMuse said:

    What is the matter with Pakistan and its religion?

    • dar said:

      Greedy petty minded people are allowed to rabble rouse while the elite fiddle as Rome burns.. That is what is wrong with Pakistan.

      Believe me, many of us hang our heads in shame and curse our fate to live in this time. This was not the Pakistan we were born and raised it. I hardly recognize it now.

  2. Laal_Haveli said:

    we need to eradicate all the kafirs from my holy land and make it a sultanate of piousness.

    • genesis said:

      who ar the kafirs and does that include shias as well.If so it should be renamed as sunni land and help the kafis leave the country with dignity.

  3. Desi from Lahore said:

    It is not your holy land,this land belongs to all the people who call Pakistan home,yes all faiths,religions whatever you want to call them.It may be called Islamic republic of Pakistan but all people including the minorities have the same rights as the muslims,or they should ,period.And you only need to worry about yourself as a muslim,only you are answerable to ALLAH for what you have done,you are not responsible for others.

    • dar said:

      Desi from Lahore, your words reassure me that all is not lost in our homeland.

      • Desi from Lahore said:

        Sorry dar,they won't allow my comments,they are too honest and direct.

    • no name said:

      fool do they i mean other religion give u equal right in their countries . eg france hijjab banned people over their protest . in england muslim are being subjugated . india ur neighbour muslims are the poorest community they are raped killed , quran is burned over their . its not ur mistake u like life as fools educated by knowledge less jahil .

  4. Eddie said:

    This ridiculous law should be abolished…shame on Pakstan…this stupid law makes Islam look bad in the eyes of the world and Pakistan is the source of this embarrassment..the law does not protect Islam…it makes it a laughing stock of the civilized world…

    • no name said:

      civilized u people i belive u europians killed wiped out whole native population of 3 countinents north america australia and some parts of south america . u are so civilzed that u killed millions in world wars . whole cities u destroyed nagasaki and heroshima but u people are civilzed . u bombarded whole iraq for nuclear and chemical weapon but u found over there nothing . now the cilvilzed people are after syria.

  5. linda anderson said:

    As ALLAH looks down on all people and the laws they have made for there own purpose , Remember this "HE" has only asked you to love ALLAH with all your heart, and mind and love all others as your self! ALLAH will judge each one. Ask yourself have you kept "HIS" command to love all people? Hummmm Stop the judgement you are not GOD.

  6. doctror said:

    there can be various aspects of this case
    1. either the muslim who has acused the christian want to send him to jail just to occupy his land.
    2. or here is another christian who want visa for canada.
    3. or most probably this is another dirty game of some of forign aided NGOs.
    i mean what the hel is this contry where a comon man cannot live in peace. we are ocupied by idiot taliban, hypocrite politicians, self centred army and dirty forign aided NGOs.

  7. sskhi said:

    what if Christians start persecuting muslims in their countries as they don't believe Jesus (AS) to be son of God? will that be okay for Blasphemy Law apologists?

  8. simon said:

    I am christian fellow and i know very well that there is a big problem in my country. it is not new for us it is going on from 1947. In my religion Jesus taught us there is only one God and i am his prophet, our religion teacher spreading the wrong teaching in the society that is why christian people are facing Blasphemy Law.

  9. mansoor ahmad said:

    there is denying the fact that the Christian community, mostly live in poverty and are badly discriminated here. Fanaticism has spread beyond limits in every corner of the country with the influence of , now Taliban, and then Zia ul Haq few decades back. Christians are taking the most toll of it. It's very important that gov & the law makers , sitting in assemblies lake courage and pass laws & change the existing lasphemy laws, in order for the poor minority, to take a sigh of relief and live a peacefull life.

    Look at these 2 guys, they have children. Mother & father is in jail, who would be responsible for their children. The law must look into all the aspects. Knowing that the state doesn't bother for the welfare of children in this country, why put poor minority people in jails on charges that are mostly framed on lies. The example of RIMSHA is an eye opener. God bless this minority & other minorities who are REALLY the children of a lesser God, in a pak country Pakistan. The soul of QuadeAzam , father of the nation (God rest his soul in peace) must be crying in heaven on the scenes & events happening in Pakistan, like the one above.

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