Elderly Christian man booked in false blasphemy case awaits bail
09 Feb 2017
Gujranwala: February 9, 2017. (PCP) An ailing 70 year old who has a serious heart condition has been imprisoned in Pakistan for an alleged blasphemy. He has called on Christians across the word to pray for his freedom and acquittal.
Today BPCA appointed lawyer Mr Abdul Hameed Rana submitted a bail application for Mukhtar, which the Civil Magistrate Ms. Nadia Yaqoob has accepted and will deliberate on at the District Session Court Gujranwala on 11th February 2017.
Mukhtar has been praying daily for emancipation from his suffering, like all blasphemy victims he has been placed in a squalid cell with no access to daylight. He longs for the company of his children and grandchildren who he has not been able to see since his imprisonment. Mukhtar spoke with Mr Rana and said: "I have done nothing wrong I only own a small property, but as our village has grown the value of our land has increased and this has made local Muslims jealous.
They wanted to take my land so they could earn a profit and offered me very little to sell the property. I refused and now I am in prison.
"My children cry for me and my grandchildren too. I have grown weaker from my own desire to see them again before I die.
"My God removed the shackles from Paul I believe he will remove them from me so I pray fervently. Please pray with me."
Mukhtar Masih was arrested on Saturday 28th January 2017 after a letter containing blasphemous messages was pinned to the door of a local mosque, in his home village of Lambanwali near Gujranwala. Mukhtar insists he is innocent of the crime and believes that any language expert could recognize that the writing was not his. Morever he also maintains that no Christian in Pakistan would be foolish enough to take such a risk with his life.
However, police at Rahwali Cantt station have chosen to ignore this and other mitigating evidence, in preference of the Muslims witnesses who attested to Mukhtar's crime. This is because in Sharia law a Christian witness cannot testify against a Muslim so Mukhtar's testimony has no value.
Mukhtar's son Anjum spoke previously to The BPCA, he said: "These charges are completely false my father is innocent. We tried explaining this to the police but they still arrested us and they beat my elderly father and I with their lathi trying to force a confession.
"I am sure that if you look at the letters the writing will not match my fathers. He would never dare enact such an offensive crime knowing it would endanger his family.
"Some men have been chasing us for our property and were offering a very low price. They threatened to kill us if we did not leave and now this has happened.
"There is never any peace for Christians in Pakistan Muslim's hate us."
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said: "How many people have to suffer such pain and anguish or die before nations in the west admit the truth about Pakistan”