An elderly Pakistani Christians faces perilous situation after blasphemy accusations were leveled against him. 70-year-old, Mukhtar Masih has been embroiled in a blasphemy case; where the accusers had claimed that Mukhtar had written blasphemous messages.
The respondent is resident of Lambanwali, a village in District Gujranwala. Accusations were brought against Mukhtar Masih, on Saturday 28th January 2017. Consequently, Mukhtar and his entire family were detained by the police. Those arrested included, Mukhtar’s daughter Saima, Anjum Mukhtar, his children Romilla, Nehmeeia.
In keeping with a report by British Pakistani Christian Association; at around 10 at night police arrived at Mukhtar Masih’s house and 10 police men scurried into the house and detained the entire family. The Christian family was later told that blasphemy accusations had been brought against them. An FIR number 49/17 has been registered against Mukhtar Masih. The First Information Report (FIR) invoked Sections 295-A and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
BPCA reported that the police was reluctant to release the Christian family, under 295-A Mukhtar Masih is likely to face a imprisonment of 10 years while there are assumptions that Section 295-C might be invoked in order to aggravate the punishment to death penalty.
BPCA report further stated that the Station Head Officer (SHO) Gohar Abbas revealed that local villagers had brought blasphemy accusations against Mukhtar. In this connection an FIR was registered at the Rahwali Police Station; in which the it was maintained that the respondent had written blasphemous letters containing derogatory comments towards Prophet Muhammad and the Quran. These letters were received by a local Imam on January 26.
The complainants in this case include the Imam of the local mosque Qari Shahbaz Hussain, Sabir Ali, Pervaiz Ahmed, Muhammed Anwer and Muhammed Mansha. Police also maintains that the letters were currently in possession of police.
Anjum Mukhtar told BPCA: “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 father’s. 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.”