Bible Reading and fast for Sawan Masih and Asia Bibi
28 Mar 2014
Lahore: March 28, 2014. (Fr. Inayat Bernard) “Although we are vulnerable citizens of Pakistan yet we pray for justice and human rights of Christian as ensured by the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah”.
Fr. Inayat Bernard told the students of St. Mary’s Minor Seminary to pray before starting the Bible reading for the release of Asia Bibi and Sawan Masih. He told them that the Additional and Session judge Ghulam Murtaza has passed judgment and given death mentality to Sawan Masih who was falsely accused by his Muslim friend Shahid Imran on the 8th of March 2013. He told them, “I was the parish priest of Mary Immaculate Conception church Anarkali and Joseph Colony, which was burnt, falls under Anarkali parish. It was a tough time and very sad to see people sitting in the camps and people all around the country came to visit them and showed their support through with money, moral support and so on”.
Fr. Bernard continued that after reading the news paper, he phoned to the present parish priest Fr. Andrew Nisari at once and showed his support and prayed that in the Lahore High court the justice will definitely be done and the false charges will be dealt with. He also phoned to the advocate supreme court Chaudhry Naeem Sahakir who is following the case and has said that the case will be moved to the LHC. The catechist of Joseph Colony Pervez Paulus told Fr. Inayat in response to his phone that the previous night on 27th March 2014, the Christians of Joseph Colony had met and were confident and trusted the session court hat justice will be done and they were looking forward for the announcement of his release but the situation is turned the other way round and has made the Christian community sad, helpless and angry. They said that the people who had burned the houses and looted their houses last year have been released on bail but the falsely accused is facing such a drastic situation. The catechist said that the people have been asked not to protest and be calm since the case is in the court already. They are hopeful that the Lahore High Court will do justice in time.
Fr. Inayat Bernard ended that it is not the first event that any Christian is accused and served death penalty by the lower court. In 1994 the three accused Manzur Masih (later shot dead by Extremists), Rehmat Masih and Salamat Masih were released by the Lahore High Court. Ayub Masih in 1998 was released after the sacrificial death of Bishop John Joseph of Faisalabad on 6th May 1998.
He told that the Christian NGOs and other institutions have been suggested two things to the government; one is to arrest both the accused and the accuser behind the bar until it is proven and then the guilty can be punished and the same punishment should be for the false accuser. Second was that before FIR (First Information Report ) is lodged the investigation should be made by a neutral and senior police officer. The proposals have not been put into practice and this Blasphemy Law has become an easy tool to accuse anybody and anytime for any reason.
The Students of the Seminary and Rector Fr. Inayat Bernard fasted that day for the release of Asia Bibi in Multan Jail and Sawan Masih in Central Jail Ichchra, Lahore.