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CTS issues fact finding report on recent blasphemy case in Lahore

Lahore: November 9, 2017. (PCP) Iqbal Masih allegedly accuse of blasphemy FIR registered on the 04th day of November, 2017 Iqbal Masih was allegedly accused of committing blasphemy by a local Mohammad Waqas Aslam (butcher) at Fazliya Colony Lahore and was arrested by the area police at Ichra Police Station. Christians’ True Spirit learnt about the incident very next morning on Sunday 5th day of November, 2017 by reliable resources and after Sunday Mass CTS team rushed towards the location to visit victim’s family.

Area Background:

Fazalia Colony is predominantly a residential area and noted for its Ichhra Bazaar a very popular shopping market, among the most economical markets of Lahore where nearly 250 Christian families live among the Muslim masses.

Iqbal Mashi s/o Sadiq Mashi aged 65, is local resident of this colony and lives among his family for decades. Iqbal Mashi and his wife Rubina Iqbal aged 60 have nine children including 7 daughter and 2 sons. Iqbal Mashi was a government employ and worked as sweeper at Services Hospital, Lahore, but after 10 years of his service he got medical retirement because of his mental instability.

At the scene, CTS team however couldn’t have meeting with Iqbal Mashi but had sitting with his wife and sons to interrogate the incident. Iqbal’s younger brother Samuel Sadiq aged 57 and other family members provided detailed information related the case. It was reported that Iqbal Masih is mentally disordered for last several years, he is sick, sometimes he reacts normally but sometimes he is out of control and reacts impatiently over the sad and shocking news’s. Iqbal Masih’s younger son aged 35 was seriously sick and admitted in the Hospital and died on November 04. When Iqbal Masih listen the word, because of shock and sadness he lost his senses and become aggressive he started shouting over his family members and the people gathered. He also abused a Muslim man Waqas Aslam aged about 35 who is a butcher and his shop is just next door of Iqbal Masih’s residence, Waqas Aslam become offensive and he called upon the local police and allegedly accused Iqbal Masih for Blasphemy and asked police to get him arrested at the spot.

The irreversible loss of his son (Bobby) no doubt was painful to him and the family but his mental instability made him out of control. But no one bothered him for the reason of the loss and his poor mentally condition.

Police has registered a case FIR no. 1110/17 offense under section 298 PPC on November 04, 2017 by Mohammad Waqas s/o Mohammad Aslam resident Fazliya Colony Lahore.

Iqbal Masih is a patient of mental illness and needs proper mental treatment rather he should be put in to the prison.

Threat to the well being of the family:

Iqbal Masih’s wife Rubina Bibi ages 55 and children feeling severe threats to their lives, they are 24 members of the family living in joint family system in one building in Fazliya Colony Lahore.

Iqbal Mashi s/o Sadiq Mashi and his brothers are 4 in numbers as mentioned below

Iqbal Mashi + Rubina Bibi

Shoukat Mashi + Parveen Bibi

Samuel Sadiq +Rubina Bibi

Patras Sadiq + Josepheen

1- Shamsa (Daugt) 2- Zafar Shamas (Son) 3- Bobby (Son) (Late) 4- Aster (Daught) 5- Chanda (Daught) 6- Guriya (Daught) 7- Asshi (Daught) 8- Heera (Daught) 9- Hina (Daught)

1- Sheebili (Son) 2- Shamsa (Daught) 3- Sadiq (Son) 4- Silviya (Daught)

1- Jennifer (Daught) 2- John (Son) 3- Maria (Daughter) 4- Peter (Son) 5- Aneeqa (Daughter)

1- Sumera (Daught) 2- Issac (Son)

On November 4, In the evening after police arrested Iqbal Masih there were about 250 – 300 people from Islamic religious organization with green turbans gathered, armed with petrol and kerosene gallons and wooden roads as they wanted to give fire to the accused family. Some Muslim shop keepers tried to council them and informed that Iqbal Masih is insane and he is mantel for years and the locals know about his instability. Therefore, the aggressors returned but they openly said that they will kill the family as they are blasphemers.

The Local Christians informed that in the area there is a police taut named Mohammad Moueen alias Timma he is a fanatic and fundamental as well, playing a very negative role in this case. He is making the news public and the Mulla’s instigating the mob to attack and burn this large family. This was very difficult time for the grieved family when the dead body of their beloved son was in street and a mob of extremists was there to attack them. Local people and relatives were so scared that everyone run away from the place to rescue themselves, because of fear they forgot that the dead body of their son was remained there. Fortunately, after the complaint Police already arrested Iqbal Masih for which the extremists went away while threatening the family.

Visit to the police Station Icchra:

CTS team consisted on Asifa Sadaf, Salamat Gill and Sunil Karamat headed by Katherine Sapna Director CTS, visited police station Icchra on the same day on November 05, 2017 to meet SHO and the investigation Officer of the case FIR no. 1110/17 to inquire the matter. The team was informed about Iqbal Masih, sent to judicial lockup due to security reasons. Local police also informed CTS that a case FIR under section 298 PPC has been lodged on November 4, 2017 and the copy of the same was provided. CTS

urged police for the safety and security of the local Christians and especially the victim’s family. SHO ensured the team for full cooperation in this regard and deputed two policemen in civil to take care in this locality.

Definition of section 298 PPC:

298. Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person. —Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places, any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Iqbal Masih’s medical situation:

Iqbal Masih is a patient of mental illness and needs proper mental treatment rather he should be put in to the prison. He needs medical treatment, CTS is worried and concerned about his life safety in prison as well. Because of instability he may become the victim of any one’s aggression there. CTS has collected all his medical history and the report of the medical board when he was given retirement from the government job on the same grounds.

Legal Support:

CTS is ready to file a bail petition of Iqbal Masih on medical grounds and prayed the court that he should be given a chance for proper medical treatment in the mental hospital.

He is not an accused but he is a patient for last 10-15 years which is obvious to all locals and they are aware of his mantel instability.

We are very hopeful for the early release of Iqbal Masih through post arrest bail on medical grounds.

CTS Shelter to the victim’s family:

Aggrieved family especially young girls and women are scared for their safety, and feared of extremists attack. The family is not willing to live at home therefore on the same evening CTS has shifted this big family at shelter home for safety and security. The girls and other women in the family requested CTS to provide them a permanent secure place to live in peace. They mentioned that complaint Mohammad Waqas is closed neighbor as he lives to the next door of Iqbal Masih and can do take any action to harm the family. He notes every activity of the victim’s family members while sitting at his shop (butcher).