GOJRA: A Christian couple allegedly accused of blasphemy booked by police, affirm that the police forced them to confess the crime.
According to details, the Gojra City Police Station registered an FIR bearing no. 407/13 under Section 295-C of the country’s blasphemy law against Shafqat Masih, 43 year old, and his wife Shagufta, 40 years old, last Sunday on a complaint filed by a local Rana Muhammad Ejaz who allegedly claimed that he had received blasphemous text messages from a number registered in the name of Shagufta. Shafqat and Shagufta work at Gojra’s Saint John’s School and earn a livelihood for four children whereas, Shafqat Masih is reportedly a handicapped man
In this respect, Gojra City Police Station House Officer Inspector Muhammad Nisar says, that the police had confirmed that the SIM used to send the blasphemous text messages was registered in Shagufta’s name while her husband had admitted using it in his phone to send the messages to Ejaz. Inspector Nisar said that,” Shafqat had admitted to his crime when taken into custody and his confession remained unchanged before a judicial magistrate.”
Blasphemy accused Shafqat says that,”the couple has been framed in a false case. He says that the police had forced him to record his confession before the magistrate.” Whereas, it has been established by the police that Shafqat has now denied sending the blasphemous text messages.
Rufus Solomon, a minorities leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party says, that he had visited Gojra to enquire about the incident as the local Christians had informed him of a tense situation developing in the area. He adds, “Shafqat’s statement could have been taken forcibly to appease the mobs. If he has committed the crime then he should be dealt with according to the law but the case must be investigated on merit. The life of two people is at stake therefore the chief minister should ensure that justice is administered.”
Rufus Solomon further illustrates that, “The police were very hostile and refused to share their investigation with us. They even refused to hand over a copy of the FIR to us, claiming that the Faisalabad Regional Police Officer (RPO) had ordered them to seal it because of the seriousness of the case. Save for the SHO lied as we managed to get a copy of the FIR from the very police station after a few hours. This one action of the police makes the case suspicious.” Solomon urges the Ruling Party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to carry out an unbiased investigation into this incident.