A Christian family barely escape death when a mob gathered to kill them as they were accused of blasphemy.
According to details, 42-year-old Aftab Masih, his wife and five children residents of Wazirabad were caught up in the midst of a mob raging with religious zeal. Aftab was accused of committing blasphemy. However, police reached the scene on time and managed to liberate the Christians and saved them from extrajudicial killing.
Aftan Masih, who is resident of Wazirabad Railway Colony, was accused of blasphemy when he had an argument with 18-year-old Zain Shah resident of same locality. Allegedly, Zain was trying to influence Aftab Masih’s two sons; 12-year-old Akash and five-year-old Adnan to convert to Islam.
Aftan Masih while narrating the incident to World Watch Monitor said “I only defended my Christian faith but it was taken as blasphemy.” He added that he never meant to have an argument about religion. He said he wanted to dissuade Zain from trying to convince his sons to convert to Islam. “Whenever my children went outside, Zain told them to convert to Islam.”
“We draw our drinking water from the nearby mosque. Zain told my children that they could not take water until they convert to Islam; otherwise, they were defiling the taps. But respectable Muslims said that there was no other place for them, so they could fill up with water from here.”
Aftab Masih further revealed that when he tried to advise Zain not to disturb his sons an argument broke out. “At this, Zain flared up and used inflammatory language against the Christian faith.” Zain verbally abused the Christian faith. Aftab lost his temper at this and argued with Zain questioning him that if Muslims failed to convert Baba Guru Nanak, to Islam why would he continue bothering his children.
Aftab Masih said, this conversation was witnessed by a nearby shopkeeper who according to him reproached Zain for speaking ill about Christianity. However, Zain accused Aftab of blasphemy and spread the news. Zain’s father and brother approached Aftab after few hours and chided him. The Christian respondent also asked for forgiveness but the mob asserted that the matter will be settled by the local cleric.
By evening, about 300 chanting men, who were carrying sticks and other weapons, assembled outside Aftan Masih’s house and chanted slogans. Seeing the gravity of the matter, the local cleric and several other influential Muslims interfered and called the police to settle the matter.
Nonetheless, despite the fact that police saved the Christians from the mob yet it was decided that the matter will be settled by Asif Hazarvi, leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP). Aftab told World Watch Monitor that, “Hazarvi asked that three from my side and three from Sadfar’s side stayed, while others were sent out. He asked us to write down our statements. Hafiz Naeem and Shafqat Hussain Shah acted as witnesses, while another Christian friend wrote down my statement.”
“Hafiz Naeem testified that I was not the type to indulge in religious arguments, and Shafqat Hussain Shah narrated the original discussion exactly as he’d heard it. After reading both our statements, Hazarvi said that no blasphemy had taken place and I should not be disturbed anymore.”
“There were still dozens of men present outside, so Shafqat Hussain Shah and Hafiz Naeem took me into their custody and took me back to my home. When I reached it, a large mob was gathered outside my house. Within a short while, another Catholic priest arrived in a car and urged me to leave.” Nonetheless, ever since this incident took place Aftab Masih has left Wazirabad.