LAHORE: Applications filed at LHC demanding legal custody of children of Shahzad and Shamma Bibi.
According to details, at least five different applications have been lodged at the Court of Lahore; demanding custody of the three children of Shama and Shahzad Masih, the Christian couple burnt alive in November 2014. Shahzad and Shamma were accused of blasphemy and were extra judicially punished by a mob which burnt them alive on November 4, 2014 in Kot Radha Kishan, in Punjab province of Pakistan.
According to Fides, the three orphaned Christian children are: Salman 6 years old; Sania, 4 years old; Poonam 18 months old. In keeping with the family members, at the time of the death, Shama Bibi was also pregnant. Nonetheless, the three children who are currently living with their maternal grandfather since the lynching of their parents.
After the incident, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, visited the children and announced compensation of five million rupees and the gift of 10 acres of land. CM also promised education and free health care to the three children. As a matter of fact, the court will now decide a guardian to administer the property, compensation money and to take care of the three until they reach legal age. The court hearing for this case is scheduled for February 6.
However, the compensation money, property and other incentives from the CM have ignited a legal battle for custody of the three. The five plaintiffs are Mukhtar Masih, the children’s maternal grandfather; maternal Uncle Yasin Masih; paternal Uncle Iqbal Masih. In addition to them, two organizations have filed for custody of children. Of these two organisations one is Legal Evangelical Association Development, (LEAD) and the second one is “Child Protection and Welfare Bureau”, an NGO that deals with orphaned children.