LAHORE: The Home Department, sanctions jail trial for the blasphemy accused Sawan Masih.
According to the details, earlier the Superintendent of Police Headquarters Hassan Mushtaq Sukhera had sent a petition to the Additional District and Sessions Judge Ghulam Murtaza; requesting for a jail trial for the blasphemy suspect Sawan Masih. Whilst, considering the acuteness of this case, as this being a religious matter, and a high profile case which is being observed by the International community, the security of the prisoner, needs to be tightened. Whereas, admitting that exceptional measures are to be adopted for Sawan’s security and safety, SP Sukhera clarified in his letter.
SP Hassan Mushtaq Sukhera stated that Masih was being held in the judicial lockup in the Camp Jail and was presented to the courtroom in an armored police car accompanied by heavy police security. The judge however, referred the request to District and Sessions Judge Nazir Ahmed Gajana, who subsequently has urged the Home Department to allow a jail trial.
At the preceding hearing, a panel of four lawyers from the CLAAS -Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, (an NGO that is actively engaged to help out and protect the persecuted Christians in Pakistan), took on Sawan’s defence. Advocate Tahir Bashir Sahotra, one of the lawyers on the CLAAS panel, earlier pull out an application for after-arrest bail, arguing that Sawan is safer in jail than on bail.Previously, the judge had determined 29th of May, to set up charges against Sawan.
Whereas, in accordance with the FIR of the case, the complainant Shahid Imran “witnessed Sawan Masih using insulting words about Prophet Muhammad as he was taking to his neighbor Muhammad Shafique”.
The accuser Imran further said that “I and Shafique told Sawan to abstain from using such derogatory language but he did not listen.” As a consequence, they then pursue to grasp him and commit him to the police, but he fled. The FIR against Sawan was lodged at the Badami Bagh police station under Section 295-C (PPC) of the Pakistan Penal Code. This law awards death to the offenders. The police booked him under 295-C on 8th of March, 2013 and he has been behind the bars since then.
Nonetheless, after the registration of FIR, and detention of Sawan, the Christian residents of his neighborhood had to run away from their homes as a fuming mob set fire to 2 Churches and all the houses in Joseph Colony. This incident was far and wide condemned at national and international forums while an arson case was then filed against dozens of people.