03 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 07/23/2013, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Punjab: Catholic couple accused of blasphemy

    Jibran Kahn

    Shafqat and Shagufta Masih live in Gojra, a town in Punjab where eight Christians were burnt alive in 2009. Instead of investigating the affair, police forced the two to accept the charges. A local priest warns that "false allegations like this lead to years in prison for the innocent. Concrete steps must be taken once and for all to stop the misuse of the blasphemy law."

    Gojra (AsiaNews) - The authorities in the town of Gojra (Punjab province) charged a local Catholic couple of blasphemy after a local Muslim man complained that the two sent him blasphemous text messages, insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Under Pakistani law, the two could be sentenced to death if found guilty.

    Rana Muhammad Ijaz filed a complaint against Shafqat Masih, a disabled person who works as a caretaker at a local school, and his wife Shagufta, a waitress.

    Police officers went to the couple's home and brought them to a police station. Both of the accused deny any wrongdoing. Shafqat complained that police put enormous pressure on them to accept the accusations against them.

    Gojra is infamous for the atrocities committed in the name of the blasphemy law. On 31 August 2009, an angry mob attacked the town's Christian colony and set fire to Christian homes. Eight Christians were burnt alive whilst 40 houses and a church were destroyed in the fire.

    For years, the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Pakistan have been calling for the repeal of the sectarian law, which has increasingly been used as tool of personal revenge.

    According to data collected by the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of Pakistan, from 1986 to August 2009, at least 964 people have been charged under the law: 479 Muslims, 119 Christians, 340 Ahmadis, 14 Hindus and 10 of unknown religion. At least 33 extra-judicial killings were carried out by individuals or mobs.

    "This is not the first time that things like this happen," a local priest, Fr John Samuel, told AsiaNews.

    "We are close to the fourth anniversary of Gojra massacre," he said. "Minorities in Pakistan have been victimised in many ways. False allegations like this one lead to years in prison for the innocent. Concrete steps must be taken once and for all to stop the misuse of the blasphemy law. We strongly condemn what happened, and ask for an independent inquiry into the matter."

     

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    22/05/2015 PAKISTAN
    Pakistan: 106 people on trial for the lynching of a Christian couple, accused of blasphemy
    An anti-terrorism court has indicted them for murder. Hundreds of people stoned to death and then burned alive Sajjad Masih and his wife Shama. The woman, pregnant with her fifth child, was accused of setting fire to pages of the Koran.

    05/11/2014 PAKISTAN - ISLAM
    Bishop of Islamabad: Couple burned alive, barbaric act shrouded by a guilty silence
    Shahzad Masih, 28, and his wife, Shama, 25, had four children and the woman was pregnant. Accusation made by Shahzad’s employer; at least 400 people attacked, shot and burned the bodies of the young couple. Christian activists: yet another abuse of the blasphemy laws.

    28/03/2014 PAKISTAN
    Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy, Islamabad bishop calls for prayers for the persecuted
    Sawan Masih's conviction came at the end of a trial held in prison because of a high risk of Islamist attacks. The Christian man's lawyers announce that they will appeal the verdict. Religious leaders and civil society groups express their anger and outrage over the court decision. For Bishop Rufin Anthony, "false accusations are an abuse." Asia Bibi's appeal hearing is set for 14 April.

    10/11/2014 PAKISTAN - INDIA
    The government of Pakistan is responsible for Christian couple's burning
    According to Peter Jacob, a well-known activist for human rights, the current legal system promotes violence in the name of the blasphemy laws. For a Pakistani politician, local leaders gave a "religious connotation to a dispute about money" to what was a "social question". For Indian bishop, it was a "satanic act;" hence, "It is urgent for world and religious leaders to get together".

    02/05/2009 PAKISTAN
    Christian families flee Punjab in wake of presumed blasphemy case
    Accusations against a social activist for having marked the Koran with ink and chewing gum. Rival politics within the Christian community at root of case. Protests force accused family to flee village.



    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card



    In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.


    IRAN
    Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®