02/20/2024, 14.21
Send to a friend

Blasphemy accusations dropped for Faisalabad Christian but threats remain

by Shafique Khokhar

Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) reported the case of Younas Masih, a Christian from Khurrianwala, who was the victim of unfounded accusations. A Christian couple who converted to Islam over a year ago accused the 68-year-old man. After an investigation, police released the Christian man but he and his family are still afraid.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) is seeking protection and justice for Younas Masih, a 68-year-old Christian man, who was accused of blasphemy against Islam in Khurrianwala, a town near Faisalabad.

A group of lawyers and members of the Pakistani human rights organisation visited the places where the incident allegedly took place, including police stations, and listened to the people involved. When Younas Masih was cleared of the charges, he was welcomed at the HRFP offices for further legal advice.

The alleged incident that led to accusations against Masih began on 10 February. Fatima Bibi and her husband, Liaqat Ali, a Christian couple who converted to Islam just over a year ago, falsely accused Younas of blasphemy due to personal grudges and family disputes.

A few months earlier, Fatima Bibi and Younas's wife, Azra Bibi, quarrelled and relations between neighbours broke down.

When Azra asked Fatima Bibi to explain her attitude, the latter replied that she would take legal action against them to ensure that no member of Younas's family would live in town anymore.

Not long after, Fatima began shouting, trying to attract people by saying that Younas Masih had torn up pages of the Qurʾān and thrown them to the ground; eventually, some passers-by called the police who took the man away to question him about the blasphemy accusations, which turned out to be specious and false.

Younas, however, remained in custody for almost four days, until 13 February, while his accusers were arrested trying to flee, perhaps with the support of a group of Islamic fundamentalists.

Naveed Walter, president of Human Rights Focus Pakistan, welcomed the quick police investigation into the case.

"What is striking is that the couple of accusers had converted to Islam a year and a half ago, but before that they were Christians. Let’s hope the police will always be as quick and effective in their methods of investigation.”

Despite the turn of events, the HRFP president noted that Younas Masih and his family are still forced to remain in hiding, due to the sensitivity of their situation.

“Even though the charges have been dropped as a result of the police investigation, the case will still go through the courts, and Younas remains under threat from the religious fundamentalists.”

“The HRFP was concerned about how Amanat Ali ran away from the police van, but the good thing is that he was arrested again.”

Now more than ever, “repealing blasphemy laws and protecting blasphemy victims and families whether they are in prisons or not, is the HRFP’s ultimate demand.”

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
National Commission for Women asks for 'immediate action' in the nun rape case in Kerala
07/02/2019 17:28
Man who abducted a Christian girl in Faisalabad gets bail
21/04/2022 13:01
Attack against Christians in Faisalabad after they refused workplace discrimination
27/06/2022 16:38
Abducted from her home in Faisalabad, Christian girl forced into marriage
06/07/2022 13:32


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”