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Blasphemy accused critically injured after allegedly attempting to escape


24 year old, Sajid Masih has sustained critical injuries after he allegedly attempted to escape from police custody. Sajid Masih and his cousin Patras Masih had been booked in a blasphemy case and were being interrogated by the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cybercrime unit, when the incident occurred.

FIA headquarter in Lahore

On Friday, February 23, Christian defendants were handed over by the police to FIA’s cybercrime wing and were brought at the provincial headquarters of FIA. In line with Pakistan Today, an FIA official had claimed that Sajid had tried to escape during interrogation and jumped off from the fourth floor of the building. He clarified that he fell on the roof of the second floor.

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The incident unfolded at around 6 pm, when adherents of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) and other religious parties were also present in the FIA building. The complainants in this case were also there to observe the interrogation process.

Critically injured Sajid was rushed to Ganga Ram Hospital, where he received medical attention for two hours. Sajid was later shifted to Lahore General Hospital where he is being treated for head injuries. At least 10 officials were present at the hospital, Pakistan Today reports claiming that none of the FIA officials hailing from the cyber crime unit or the investigating officer was present at the hospital.

Patras Masih, resident of Dhir village in Shahdara Town was accused of allegedly posting a blasphemous photo on social media. An FIR No. 174/18 invoking Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code was registered against Patras almost after a month of alleged blasphemous deed. The complainant Hafiz Muhammad Awais alleges that on January 16, 2018, Patras had posted a disrespectful photo on a Facebook group named “Paaglon Ki Basti”. The incident had generated a wave of terror among the local Christians who fled from their homes fearful of reprisal from adherents of religious parties.

On the other hand, Advocate Aneeqa Maria defense counsel of Patras Masih claims that her client was attacked outside the courtroom earlier the same day. She said that a group of about 10-15 people launched an attack on Patras after he was presented before the court of Magistrate Imtiaz Bajwa.

“The complainant and his accomplices slapped and punched Patras when the police brought him out from the courtroom.” Both suspects were later handed over to the FIA cyber crime unit and the Investigation Officer Khalid Saeed. FIA officials also asked the complainant Hafiz Awais and his fellows to present themselves at the FIA headquarters in order to record their statement.

“We requested the police to provide security to the accused and his family as we feared that the complainant party might attack them again, but our appeal fell on deaf ears. Even at the FIA office, I requested Khalid Saeed to ensure the security of Patras’s family, but he said it was not his responsibility,” Advocate Aneeqa Maria stated. She claims that it was just a few minutes after she left the FIA headquarters that she was informed that Sajid has jumped off the fourth floor.

She brought it out that Sajid was being interrogated because Patras had shared the blasphemous image on his Facebook wall. She said that it is hard to believe that he had actually jumped off the fourth floor- terming the FIA narrative of the incident “hard to digest”.