LAHORE: A suspect in a blasphemy case, who jumped from the fourth floor of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Punjab headquarters building during investigation on Friday evening, has made harrowing revelations in a video statement on Saturday, claiming that he was forced to jump after the FIA investigators first tortured him and later coerced him into having sex with his cousin, Patras Masih, the main accused.
A police team had handed over primary accused Patras, 18, to the FIA’s cybercrime wing on Friday afternoon for interrogation. The FIA had also summoned Sajid Masih, 24, to the headquarters for questioning after Patras said during investigation that he had shared the sacrilegious image with his cousin on Facebook.
Earlier this week, an FIR [First Information Report] was registered with the Shahdara Town Police Station under Section 295-C of the blasphemy law against Patras. The complainant Hafiz Muhammad Awais had alleged that Patras had posted a sacrilegious photo on Jan 16, 2018, on a Facebook group named “Paaglon Ki Basti”.
According to a video statement obtained by Pakistan Today, a critically injured Sajid stated: “They [FIA officials] called me to the headquarters to record my testimony.”
“They took my mobile phone for examination and later started beating me. When I asked them what my fault was, they responded haughtily that ‘we are beating you because you are the cousin of prime accused.’”
“They later took me and Patras to the fourth floor of the building and started beating both of us. We were also told to call each other ‘Laanti’ (accursed) which my cousin complied with.”
He went on to say: “After that, the FIA officials asked me to take off my cousin’s trousers and have sex with him. I refused to comply with their directives.”
“I pleaded them that I can’t have sex with my brother, which made them [FIA officials] angry. However, they insisted and I had no option but to jump through the window of the room.
“Khalid Shah was the person who took me with him and I was treated like that even though they didn’t find anything in my mobile,” Sajid says in the video.
Watch video here:
Rejecting Sajid’s claims, FIA Sub-Inspector Khalid Saeed said that the suspect had panicked during the investigation.
“Sajid and his parents arrived at the FIA headquarters at 11.30am on Friday to record his statement. I started questioning him after the Friday prayers as I wanted to record the statements of the complainants first. Moreover, the complainants had beaten up Patras Masih at the district courts earlier in the day so I wanted to avoid a similar situation at the FIA.
“During interrogation I repeatedly asked Sajid to share the password of his cell phone but he refused to do so. I did not touch him even once but he was very afraid and probably that’s why he jumped out of the window,” Saeed claimed.
“There were at least five persons present in the room at that time, including the main accused Patras. Around 6pm, I was preparing to perform Namaz when suddenly Sajid leaped out of the window,” he further claimed, denying that the FIA personnel had tortured the two cousins.
When asked why he had refused to acknowledge the incident yesterday when Pakistan Today contacted him, he replied: “I was advised to refrain from giving any comments to the media by my senior officer, Khawaja Hamaad.”
Saeed said that the FIA had sent the main accused Patras on judicial remand on Saturday.
Federal Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal has taken notice of Pakistan Today’s story and ordered an inquiry against the FIA officials concerned.
Meanwhile, the FIA has also registered an FIR against Sajid Masih with the Civil Lines Police Station for attempting suicide.
Advocate Maria, the lawyer for Patras, told Pakistan Today that she had filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court on Saturday against the FIA’s torture on the two cousins.
“We have made Khalid Saeed and the FIA director general respondents in the petition. The FIA was responsible for the suspect’s safety during custody but Sajid’s statement has exposed the treatment the law enforcement agency meted out to them during questioning,” she said.
Earlier on Friday, the lawyer had told Pakistan Today that a group of 10-15 people led by the complainant, Hafiz Awais, had attacked Patras Masih outside the court of Magistrate Imtiaz Bajwa at the district courts where the police had taken him for seeking remand earlier in the day.
“The complainant and his accomplices slapped and punched Patras when the police brought him out from the courtroom. Later the police handed over his custody to the FIA and the IO, Khalid Saeed, asked the complainant party to also reach the FIA HQs for recording their statements.
“We requested the police to provide security to the accused and his family as we feared that the complainant party might attack them again, but our appeal fell on deaf ears. Even at the FIA office, I requested Khalid Saeed to ensure the security of Patras’s family, but he said it was not his responsibility. Hardly a few minutes after we left the FIA building, we were informed that Sajid had ‘fallen off’ the fourth floor…,” she claimed.
A large number of Christians living in Dhir village in Shahdara Town had fled their homes earlier this week, on Monday, after a charged mob comprising activists of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) and other religious parties blocked the Shahdara intersection, burned tyres and threatened to further intensify the protest until the arrest of Patras Masih.
The announcements had been made from mosques in the area urging locals to come out on the main road to protest against the alleged blasphemy. Fearing violence, a majority of the Christians living in the village had abandoned their houses and left for safer places; however, they had returned following an “agreement” with Muslim religious leaders.