Pakistan: Christian Youth Sentenced Life Imprisonment under Blasphemy Laws
15 Jan 2010
Faisalabad: January 15, 2010: (Shahid Anwar reports for PCP) On 11th January 2010, Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Additional & Session Judge, Faisalabad convicted the accused Imran Masih u/s 295-A PPC
and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years plus a fine of Rs. 100,000.00/- and in default of payment, he will further undergo for 6 months. Imran Masih was also convicted u/s 295-B PPC for defiling, damaging and desecrating the extracts of Holy Quran and sentenced to life imprisonment. He is now in judicial lockup of District Jail Faisalabad to serve out the sentences awarded to him.
Imran Masih (Shopkeeper) from Hajwery Town in Faisalabad indicted and arrested on charges of blasphemy law; Article 295 paragraph A and B of the Pakistan Penal Code dates back on to 1st July of 2009. He had received charges for intentionally set on fire the Quranic verses and an Arabic Book in order to instigate religious hatred and outrage the feelings of Muslims.
On the day of incident, he collected some rough papers and unnecessary books during cleaning up his shop, to dispose off. When he started blazing the waste papers, Haji Liaqat Abdul Gafoor (neighboring shopkeeper) started shouting that Imran Masih was burning the pages of Holy Quran. The Muslims of the locality gathered, they severely beat Imran Masih and damaged his shop too. The story spread among the mosques of the surrounding area, started inciting Muslims to take part in the assault, to take revenge from Christians for this outrageous act. A large number of Muslims including clerics assembled, they staged a protest, blocked the roads, chanted slogans against Christian and demanded shouting "Death to blasphemers in public”. Meanwhile, police arrived at the occurrence, took the Imran Masih into custody and framed a blasphemy case against him in FIR No. 622/09. (Shahid Anwar works with NCJP Faisalabad)