Why blasphemy cases in Pakistan are on use of Social Media? By Sardar Mushtaq Gill Advocate

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Several innocent persons are being accused of blasphemy charges, particularly against Christian and Hindu in Pakistan. A very few are willing to raise the concern of abusing blasphemy laws in the present time, when a large number of blasphemy cases surfaced on the  issue of using electronic internet, social media facebook, and whatsapp. Real pain only the person can feel who himself or his any blood relation is suffering of this agony. We know and feel the pain of those prisoners of conscience, faith and belief because we ourselves have suffered of this agony of blasphemy accusations.


We are thankful for all those who have supported in the case of Asia Bibi and rescued her from the agony of blasphemy laws even after her acquittal from the false blasphemy charges. But this isn't the end of our work for religious persecuted. There are many, who are suffering in jails or in exile after being accused of false blasphemy accusations and there is fear of their killing by the hands of enraged Islamists.


Shakeel Anjum is the person who is in severe pain because of his brother Nadeem Samson, who was arrested in a false and baseless case of blasphemy in November 2017 of uploading blasphemous material on facebook account titled “Goga Abdul Haq”. Anjum is in struggle to get justice for his brother. He is contacting different organizations, Churches and human rights defenders including advocates of religious liberty or freedom so that he can be successful to get justice for his brother.


Here are the facts of the case, according to the contents of the First Information Report No.123/2017 dated 24-11-2017 registered at Police Station Cyber Crime Circle ,NR3C,Lahore under sections 3,4,11,13,14,15,20 of PECA-2016 R/w 295-A,295-C,298-A,419,420,468,471,109-PPC.


Consequent upon Enquiry No.674/2017 dated 23-11-2017 initiated on the complaint of Mr. Abdul Haq resident of Oxford School System, Kamboh Street, Kot Shahab-ud-Din, Shahdara, and Lahore. The complainant alleged that some unknown person has created a fake facebook account using his name titled “Goga Abdul Haq” for the purpose of blackmailing, harassment and damage his reputation. Due to which, he is receiving threatening calls to course harm to his life, and reputation etc. He further stated that the culprit has placed mobile number no.0300-8451311 of the complainant on the fake facebook profile and uploaded blasphemous material for spreading religious unrest among the general public against Abdul Haq.


Earlier verification vide No.3060/2017 dated 26-10-2017 was probed by Mr. Naeem Zafar, Assistant Director /HE. The record from Facebook Inc. was obtained by sending Subpoena/Court Orders against the alleged facebook account titled “Goga Abdul Haq” bearing URL https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100020708317184 and it observed that this facebook profile was verified from mobile no.0312-4949120 at the time of creation. Record was obtained from concerned authorities, revealed that the mobile no.0312-4949120 is registered on the name of Nadeem Samson S/o Raphael Masih R/o St #6, Girja Street, Mohallah Christian Colony, Wandala Road, Shahdara against CNIC No.35202-6020636-3.During the course of enquiry, the screenshots of alleged facebook profile were obtained and it was observed that the Mobile No0312-4949120 is still active.


Today on 24-11-2017, information was received from reliable source that the accused is present in a house situated at Jinnah Road, Islam Pura No. 2 near Machis Factory Shahdara, Lahore and is performing the same activities and uploading objectionable material through internet and if a raid is conducted, he may be captured red handed. On this information, the Deputy Director, Cyber Crime Circle, FIA, Lahore constituted a raiding team comprising on Naeem Zafar, Assistant Director/HE, Rana Obaid Ullah Minhas, Senior Investigator, Mansoor Hussain FC and Tanvir Ahmed FC under the supervision of the undersigned (Fakhar Abbas, Inspector/SHO).The raiding team reached at a house at Jinnah Road, Islam Pura No.2 near Machis Factory Shahdara, Lahore and conducted a raid. During search of the premises, a person was sitting in a room and was operating a laptop attached with internet. He was introduced with FIA raiding team .The person later on identified as Nadeem Samson S/o Raphael Masih R/o St#6,Girja Street ,Mohallah Christian Colony, Wandala Road, Shahdara bearing CNIC No. 35202-6020636-3.On spot, digital media of accused was searched by the technical officer and witnessed by the raiding team. It was found that data which was related to the alleged facebook account such as multiple personal edited pictures of Abdul Haq which were uploaded on questioned facebook profile and blasphemous material was also successfully found in that digital media which was in the custody of the accused Nadeem Samson. During search, o3 Mobile phones out of which one contained SIM No. 0312-4949120; 01 Acer laptop, internet device of Zong along with other digital media were recovered and taken into possession by FIA as per seizure memo.


Through these acts, the accused unauthorized obtained pictures of the complainant, prepared fake and forged electronic documents, disseminated the blasphemous material to general public through facebook by impersonation; cheated and induced the public to harm the life and to destroy the property /valuable securities of Abdul Haq and his family through such deception, instigation, electronic forgery and fraud. The accused has defiled the sacred name of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), outraged religious feelings of Muslims by insulting Islam and Holy personages with the abetment of some unknown persons. On spot interrogation, the accused Nadeem Samson confessed his guilt in order to create & operate the alleged facebook account due to personal grudge with Abdul Haq.


Prima facie, the accused Nadeem Samson has committed offences u/s 3,4,11,13,14,15,20 of PECA-2016 R/w 295-A,295-C,298-A,419,420,468,471,109-PPC,Istaghasa is being sent through  Mansoor Hussain FC to PS Cyber Crime Circle, FIA Lahore for registration of a case against Nadeem Samson. A case may be registered  and copy of FIR be sent to the undersigned .-sd-Fakhar Abbas ,Inspector, FIA,NR3C,Lahore.On receipt of Istaghasa, the competent authority accorded permission to register a case 3,4,11,13,14,15,20 of PECA-2016 R/w 295-A,295-C,298-A,419,420,468,471,109-PPC against the accused person namely Nadeem Samson S/o Raphael Masih R/o St #6,Girja Street, Mohallah Christian Colony, Wandala Road, Shahdara bearing CNIC No.35202-6020636-3.Investigation  is entrusted to Fakhar Abbas, Sub-Inspector of Cyber Crime Circle (NR3C),FIA, Lahore by the orders of the competent authority .Copy of FIR is sent to the Investigation Officer through Mansoor Hussain, FC. Copies of FRs are being sent to the concerned quarters. 


This is not the only case of blasphemy, in the same way some unknown person created a fake facebook account on the name titled" Martha Bibi" in October 2015 with the purpose of blackmailing. At that time she was the absconder and declared offended criminal of blasphemy under section 295-C PPC by the session court Lahore. Later on this facebook profile, the blasphemous material about Prophet Muhammad and Islam was uploaded. The creator of this facebook profile titled "Martha Bibi" spread rumors in public that it was created and being running by Sardar Mushtaq Gill.


The supporters of Mumtaz Hussain Qadri group , Ali Khan, Babar Ali Qadri and Chaudhary Ghulam Murtaza Qadri along with unknown persons started to blackmail, to harass and to damage the reputation of Sardar Mushtaq Gill and his team of LEAD by accusing them that they were operating the facebook account titled "Martha Bibi" and uploaded blasphemous material on it; defiled the sacred name of Holy prophet Muhammad; and insulted Islam including with the allegation of helping to harbor Martha Bibi and other blasphemy accused, which hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims. They submitted complaints in different police stations against Sardar Mushtaq Gill and his team and they filled petitions in Session Court, Lahore to get order for registration of FIR.


On 07-03-2018, they were successful to get order for registration an FIR under blasphemy charges from Session Court Lahore against Sardar Mushtaq Gill and his team. The wordings of the order of the court are, ‘It is alleged by the petitioner that the proposed accused persons are continuously uploading derogatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and at the protest of petitioner the proposed accused have threatened the petitioner with dire-consequences .Along-with petition ,the petitioner has annexed the copies of web-sites having shown that blasphemy material and derogatory remarks have been uploaded under the different I.D’s. Uploading blasphemic material with derogatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) is serious crime which must have injured the sentiments of millions of Muslims who happened to visit the said websites. The alleged offence also involves Cyber Crime. Keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue, the matter is referred to CCPO, Lahore’ for registering FIR against the proposed accused.’


It is evident how both Islamists State Actors / the courts and non-State Actors are validating and endorsing their judgments for only death punishment for blasphemy accused by giving the references of their sacred religious texts from Islamic history where their Prophet Muhammad himself endorsed killing of blasphemers. There are some examples of the Christian blasphemy accused’s cases in which the courts gave them death sentences such as Younas Masih, Asia Bibi and Sawan Masih victims of blasphemy laws and endorsed the judgments by stating the instances from the Islamic History are that “It has been related on the authority of Ibn-e-Abbas that a blind man, in the period of Muhammad, had a freed concubine, who used to insult Muhammad and say bad things about him. He told her not to do that but she did not stop, and he rebuked her but she did not heed him. One night, when she started to say bad things about Muhammad and insult him, he took a short sword or dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it and killed her. A child fell between her legs, and became covered by blood (She was pregnant). The following morning that was mentioned to the Messenger of Allah –Muhammad. He called the people together and said, “I ask by Allah the man who has done this action and I order him by my right over him that he should stand up.” The blind man stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I am the one who did it; she used to insult you and say bad things about you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not give up her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was kind to me. Last night she began to insult you and say bad things about you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.” Thereupon Muhammad said: “Bear witness, there is no blood money due for her.”


In another instance that a Jew woman used to abuse Muhammad and thus a person killed her and Muhammad declared her blood as vain. It is also narrated that a person came to Muhammad and said that O Prophet of Allah my father abused and I could not bear it thus killed him. Muhammad confirmed his action of killing. Such references from the sacred text of Islamic history enjoin Muslims to be unkind, cruel, violent, intolerant and stingy towards blasphemy accused.

Blasphemy law is a real attack on the religious liberty and freedom of expression for all those who have contrasting opinions or criticism with regards to Islam or its history. The both Christians and non-Christians are equally victims of the blasphemy law abuses; but for Muslims, it is only those who express criticism towards Islam or its history. And, if a Christian person is accused of blasphemy, he will not be spared and his death will be sought. There is also the risk of mass punishment or revenge against the entire Christian community to which he belongs, as occurred in several past tragic incidents.


Majority of Pakistanis prey religious minorities whenever there is an incident of blasphemy against Islam or Muslims. Persons of minority faiths, particularly Christian experiences grave insecurity in Pakistan when someone accused of blasphemous contents or remarks. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws foster an environment of intolerance and impunity, and lead to violations of a broad range of human rights, including the obvious rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion or faith, as well as freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention; the right to due process and a fair trial; freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; and the right to life and security of the person and property. In Pakistan people are killed, imprisoned, tortured, kidnapped, and otherwise victimized because of what they believe other than majority believe. Christians are the most vulnerable, marginalized, and defenseless portion of the Pakistani society and the Islamists extremists use these blasphemy laws as a tool for taking personal revenge and vendetta against religious minorities particularly Christians and Hindu in Pakistan. Our voices of advocacy should be as strong to reach the concerned world authorities to save the victims of blasphemy laws and must be helpful for abolishing the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.



 

 

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