55 years old Pakistani Pastor Karma Patras was released on bail on Thursday, February 28 after being arrested for false Blasphemy Charges.
Karma Patras, a 55 years old Pakistani Pastor has been yearning in Sheikhupura District Jail since October 2012, when he was arrested by police when some fellow Muslims accused him of defaming Islamic ritual performed at “Eid-Ul-Adha”, and later on charged him with Blasphemy.
In a rare instance a judge granted bail to Karma Patras accused of blaspheming Islam because the complainant reportedly to be Syed Zulqarnain Shah, stated on Feb 21, in Sangla Hill Judicial Magisterial Court that “he had mistakenly accused Karma Patras of committing blaspheming against Islam and that he would have no objection if he was released on bail”
However, the public prosecutor argued that Patras could not be released on bail on just Syed Zulqarnain Shah’s nullifying his statement, and that the state was now the complainant in the case, the attorney said.
But the Judge dismissing his argument said, that Shah was still the main witness and the complainant and that his current statement was of crucial importance.
Syed zulqarnain Shah, the main witness and accuser of Karma Patras, is not the official complainant anymore in the the case, and that is presumably the fact why charges against Karma Patras were not dismissed in spite of Shah taking his steps back after retraction.
55 years old Pakistani Pastor Karma Patras blasphemy case is a rare instance in Pakistan in which the complainant has withdrawal his accusing statement and have agreed for the release.
Despite being released from jail, the pastor is living in another area, separated from his family; he fears for his life, and he does not want to jeopardize his family.
Pakistani Pastor Karma Patras’ Arrest:
Pastor Karma Patras had been invited to address a funeral gathering in the village, Mehmandwali, Chak No. 111-R-B, Sheikhupura in Punjab Province on October 13,2012. He preached about the Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection to the grieved gathering. Reportedly someone from the gathering asked the Pastor if Christians could sacrifice animal and what Eid-Ul-Adha (Islamic ritual of sacrificing animals) meant to chrsitians.
Pastor Patras replied them quoting a Bible Verse Corinthians 10:28-29: “But if anyone says to you, ‘This was offered to idols’, do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness. “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?”
Muslims neighbors who were present at the funeral overheard the discussion and told other Muslim fellows.
When Patras returned home, Imams reportedly used mosque loudspeakers to urge fellow Muslims to punish the pastor “for prohibiting Eid-Ul-Adha” to Christians. Shouting “Pastor Karma Patras is a blasphemer and infidel, liable to be killed ” hundreds of Muslims attacked Patras’ home, according to witnesses. Police initially rescued Patras from a mob that was seen beating him and destroying his household, but later charged the pastor under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws and got him arrested.
Saddar Sanghla hill Police Station charged Patras under section 295-A of the Pakistani Penal Code for “ Outraging religious feelings”.
After Patras’s arrest, a mob of Muslims surrounded the police station and demanded that he be handed over to them, but Patras had already been transferred to another site. Unable to get Patras, it was then that area Muslims told his five sons to leave the village or else they would be set on fire.
A recent study by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) found that those acquitted of blasphemy charges face threats from homicidal vigilantes. Of 52 people murdered after being charged with blasphemy in Pakistan, 25 were Muslims, 15 were Christians, five were Ahmadis, one was Buddhist and one was Hindu, according to the CRSS report.
Pakistan is nearly 96 percent Muslim, according to Operation World. Religiously charged court cases commonly involve clamoring crowds of Muslims and other pressures coming to bear on lawyers and judges. Christians make up 2.45 percent of the population.
In most cases Christians and other minorities in Pakistan are accused and jeopradize for personal hatred and the facts that hold no ground. As Christian in Pakistan are treated like second class citizens and they being weak on socio-economic level, they fail to secure themselves and are persecuted in result.