LAHORE: The final prosecution witness in the blasphemy trial of Sawan Masih to testify on December 7.
The blasphemy affair that resulted in more than 150 houses of Christians living in the Joseph Colony of Lahore torched by a fuming mob on March 9 earlier this year. Due to fear of counteraction the Christians of Sawan’s locality had earlier fled from their homes, as a result of which there were no causalities. Sawan Masih was booked by police under blasphemy law a day before the arson; however the row seems to have been close to a verdict as the final prosecution witness in the blasphemy trial of Sawan Masih bear witness on December 7.
This decisive prosecution witness is the former investigation officer for this case, SP Syed Ameen Bokhari, who was later on transferred to the Balochistan Constabulary in Quetta. The trial court wrote to the Balochistan Constabulary requesting that Syed Ameen Bokhari be sent to testify in the case on December 7.
Sawan Masih is a sanitary worker, and is said to have outraged the Muslim community by making reviling remarks about Prophet Muhammad. These accusations came from a local barber and Sawan’s friend, Shahid Imran who claimed that,” Sawan Masih had made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad; during a private conversation three days prior to these acts of ruination. “
It was on March 9, 2013 an outraged throng of about three thousand launched an extrajudicial attack at the Christian neighbourhood where Sawan lived, burning two Churches and about 200 Christian homes and causing 10 to loose their lives. In past few months, the government of Punjab pledged to recompense the Christian families and to rebuild the demolished houses, but the issue of distribution becomes an open wound.
Sawan Masih was charged under 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code which states: Use of derogatory remarks etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet: – who ever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation innuendo, or insinuation, directly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable for fine.