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Updates about Patras Masih Accused of Blasphemy

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Patras Masih a 17 years old Christian is an illiterate teenager who has been working as a cleaner in a private bank while his father Inderyas Masih works as a driver in Water and Sanitation Agency.

Pakistani Christian Patras Masih Accused of Blasphemy in Lahore

Patras Masih’s father said that he was on duty when his family informed him on phone about the announcement in the mosque loudspeaker about the blasphemous content shared on social media by their son Patras and therefore deserved to be punished for his crime as hanging publically. He said that he asked his family to flee from the village as soon as possible.

Patras Masih was alleged for posting a sacrilegious image on social media page in a group called ‘paaglon ki basti’ (colony of lunatics) from his phone on January 16 this year.

Earlier the report said that he lost his cell phone few months ago while Patras Masih’s father said that Patras’s cell phone was broke down and has been in a cell phone repair shop since December 8, 2017, according to a social media report.

On the other hand the accuser Hafiz Awais claimed that he learned about the blasphemous image from his friend, Muhammad Siddique. Then Siddique called Patras Masih and asked him to remove the objectionable photo but he refused and remained obstinate. Therefore Awais informed to his Muslim leaders which later formed as a mob of protestors.

On 19 February a horde of Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) gathered at Shahdara road surrounding Patras’ house and the police station. They were chanting slogans and holding gasoline or petrol with them. The Muslim protestors were demanding to the Patras family either handover Patras to them or they will burn the Christians houses. They wanted to behead Patras Masih for his crime of posting objectionable picture on the social media.
According to the First Information Report number 174/18 which is registered to Shahdara Town Police Station, on the complaint by Hafiz Muhammad Awais under Section 295-C against Patras Masih for uploading blasphemous content on a website.

According to Morning Star News, Aneeqa Maria who is an attorney at The Voice Society told that their group will provide legal assistance to the family. She said that police had wrongly charged Patras under the blasphemy while the police ignored the complainant’s dishonesty of registering the complaint with one month delay.
Emmanuel Masih, a Christian resident of Dher village said that he had never seen Patras engage in any religious discussion with anyone.

According to a Christian rights activist Napolean Qayyum, the police made haste in registering the FIR against PAtras Masih under Section 295-C.

Superintendent of Police City Division Ali Raza said that about 400 police personnel are deployed in Dher village for the protection of local Christians. The situation was brought under control late on Monday night when the accused surrendered him with the help of Kamran Michael and charged with blasphemy.

The outrageous mob of TLYR was called by its supporter Zainul Abideen who is the cousin of Hafiz Awais the main complainant of this case.

The press conference was held at the Shahdara Police Station among the political, religious leaders, human rights activists and elders of the area in the presence of police officers to make a call for 800 Christian residents to return and live peacefully with their Muslim neighbors as earlier, according to a Christian journalist Saleem Iqbal.

In the conference the written statement also noted with the joint agreement of religious and political leaders that “the Christian community has guaranteed that they would not interfere in the religious matters of Muslims any further. And neither would any such incident [of disrespect] take place anymore. [Christians] will respect the religion of Muslims and holy places and their religious festivals and they [the leaders] will teach this to the members of their community”.

Punjab Assembly parliamentarian Mary Gill, who signed this agreement in Lahore on behalf of the Christian community, said that young generation must consider the sensitive issue of religion while using social media. She said. “Due to the sensitivity involved, even Christian politicians fear to handle such incidents for fear of reprisals.”

Later on Monday the announcements were made from the mosques inviting Christians to return to their homes since the “blasphemer” has been in police custody and therefore they need not fear reprisals from Muslims.