Blasphemy uproar: Court to hear bail plea by Christian teenager in a few days’ time

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Blasphemy accused Christian teenager Nabeel Masih is all set to be presented before the court on December 20, Tuesday. A court hearing has been scheduled this Tuesday regarding the bail plea of the Christian respondent.

Christian teenager Nabeel Masih accused of blasphemy

Nabeel Masih son of Amanat Masih resident of Chak 66, Bhai Pheru, District Kasur, was fallaciously accused of
posting a picture of Khana-e-Kaaba on Facebook which was deemed blasphemous by the complainant. In this case, Akhtar Ali the complainant claimed that he had seen a post on Nabeel Masih’s Facebook timeline; which was derogatory towards the Islamic sacred place. He maintained that Nabeel had blasphemed by posting the picture of Khana-e-Kaaba in a derogatory manner therefore; he has hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.

Also Read: Pakistani Christians commemorate the APS martyrs on second anniversary of the attack

Adding to the quandary of teenage Christian respondent, police sought to invoke the newly-fangled cyber-crime law against him. Until that time, the defense counsel The Voice Team had filed an application on the grounds that fanatics had threatened Nabeel’s defense counsel as well as his family.

Sessions Judge Mujahid Mustaqeem Ahmad turned down the plea, whereas the vice-president of Kasur Bar hurled opposition at Nabeel’s defense counsel saying that there were no logical grounds for transferring the case. He maintained that entire country is predominantly Muslim, transferring the case to another location will not make any difference.

The case has already incited widespread indignation among the religious fanatics posing serious threat to the lives of the Nabeel, his family and the defense counsel. The Voice Team appeared before the court asking for the hearings be moved to Lahore. 16-years-old Nabeel Masih’s legal team is headed by Advocate Aneeqa Maria. On October 8, Nabeel’s bail application case was heard by Judge Muhammad Imran. During the court proceedings, the respondent’s legal team was harassed in front of the judge.

While explaining the dire situation, Advocate Aneeqa told that the prosecutor Advocate Amin Muzammal Chaudhry had threatened her in front of the judge saying: “It is a blasphemy case and this man has […]. You should know that Pakistan is an Islamic state. We are all Muslims.”

“These are Muslim courts so you should not defend such a criminal. You people come here from Lahore to pursue this case. Here are so many people who you cannot face. So you better watch yourself and stay away.”

Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Shairf has been urged to help the blasphemy accused Christian teenager Nabeel Masih. In a letter, the civil society and several citizens of Pakistan including Muslims have beseeched the Premier to look into the matter and take apt action.

An excerpt from the letter is as follows:

“An illiterate sixteen year old sweeper’s son charged under Sections 295 and 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, stands to lose his freedom over a social media interaction; an all too innocuous action in the digital age that is neither defined in the Law of Blasphemy, nor the Cyber crime Law. As citizens of Pakistan and members of the world community, we find it alarming that, without any established rules of either collecting evidence or for attributing intentions in the digital space, the criminalizing of digital exchanges had become increasingly common.

Such accusations are instruments of persecution for Pakistan’s minority communities, who still hold dear the promise of equality that out Founder made to them. Whats more, as the case of Nabeel Masih demonstrates, these accusations are accompanied by mob intimidation in the police station and the courtroom, denying victim any chance of due process of fair hearing.”

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