On October 09, 2013 Mr. Abid Gill from National Commission for Justice and Peace approached CLAAS by a phone call and informed about the growing situation of Christians in Beher Pind Johar Town Lahore where about 50 Christian families living among Muslim masses and Bahadar Pura Bahar Colony Lahore after Adnan Masih s/o Pervaiz Shahid was implicated in a fake blasphemy case by a member of a big Islamic organization Jamat-ul-Dawat.
CLAAS team headed by Asher Sarfraz field officer, consisted on Huma Lucas Assistant In charge legal department, Zeeshan Zafar Assistant, John Paul Driver and Abid Gill member National Commission for Justice and Peace NCJP reached in the area at about 12:00 pm to collect the real facts related to the alleged case of blasphemy. The team met with the local Christians and family of Mushtaq Masih who were very much frightened and worried about their houses and belongings which the Muslims wanted to give fire and destroy to punish the area Christians. The team reported the situation to the high police authorities and asked for the immediate security measures in the area to save the Christians from any mishap.
The team met with the family of Mushtaq Rehmat who was in the police custody since October 08, 2013. His wife Tahira aged 30 informed the team that she is blessed with four children namely Taniya aged 14 (student of 8th grade), Daud aged 12 (student of 5th grade), Michal aged 10 (student of 3rd grade) and Sitaish age 4 student of play group. She said that Mushtaq has own business of glass and aluminum and his shop called as New Diamond Glass & Aluminum at College Road Township Lahore which he established after a lot of hard work and problems. Mushtaq works with two partners Sabir a Christian and Muhammad Khalid a Muslim man since 1999. They had a very good business and handsome income too.
Tahira said that they were living happily and her husband can not commit any blasphemy. He is innocent in this case but police arrested him without committing any offence. She further informed that her all family is disturbed and living in fear as there is threat from Muslims that they will burn the Christian houses like Joseph Colony Lahore.
Statement of Sabir:
When the team met Sabir one of the partners of New Diamond Glass & Aluminum informed that in 2004 he started this business along with Mushtaq and Mohammad Khalid and they have 12 employs to work on the shop including a Muslim Driver named Mohammad Abid aged 30 since 2006. Later Muhammad Khalid left them and started his separate business of Glass.
Sabir said that Mohammad Abid (driver) left his job in 2009 to work at some other place but suddenly he rejoined them as driver in 2012. Sabir further informed that Mohammad Abid is a religious and fanatic Muslim and also member of Jamat-ul- Dawat. Near about six months before Mohammad Abid brought an Urdu book “main ne Bible se pocha Quran kiun jale” (I asked Bible why Quran should burn) written by Ameer Hamza. Through sources team came to know that this book is banned in the market but M Abid used to read that book in the shop when he was free. None of us was interested to see his religious book and never asked him about the book he said.
Another Christian boy namely Irfan s/o Parvaiz Shahid aged 26 who work along with Mushtaq as an accountant and deal with all matters of the shop. Sabir said that on October 07, 2013 Irfan was on leave and he sent his younger brother Adnan aged 25 at his work he saw the book in the shop and started reading.
The next day on October 8-2013 Irfan was back on his job, everyone was busy in his routine work at shop when few Muslim boys came to the shop and they started reading that book and noticed some blasphemous words and comments written on the pages of the book. They made complaint to Abid about what was written in the book but Abid did not say anything and left the shop.
In the evening Abid came back to the shop along with some Muslim youth and Mullahs of Jamat-ul-Dawat who called upon Mushtaq and Sabir and asked that if Adnan has written blasphemous comments on the book and forcibly took them to Jamat-Ul-Dawat office. He also informed Mushtaq Sabir that FIR no. 675/13 offence under section 295 A, B, C according to the Pakistan Penal Code on October 08, 2013 against Adnan Masih son of Pervaiz Shahid. Mushtaq and Sabir became frightened and went to their office where Mullah’s were waiting for them. Mullah’s started inquiring them and asked that they do not want to harm
any innocent but they need Adnan because Muhammad Abid accused him as blasphemer as he wrote disgraced comments about Prophet Mohammad on the book therefore he must be punished. Mohammad Abid informed the police got arrested Mushtaq until Adnan was escaped.
Since October 08, 2013 Mushtaq is in police custody at Township Police Station and police is disturbing the rest of the family members. They called the all family in the police station till night just to disturb their jobs and earning circuit.
Visit to the police station:
The team went to the Township Police Station to visit the Station House Officer (SHO) and Investigation Officer (IO) of the said case. They both were not present in the police station and when the team expressed interest to meet with Mushtaq in the police station the constables informed that it is a sensitive matter and they are not authority to let them visit the accused in custody.
Involvement of SAP and HRCP:
Mushtaq Masih’s younger brother Ilyas Rehmat runs an organization with the name “Chanan” means Light. He had been working with South Asia Pakistan (SAP) on some projects when his brother got arrested with police in this fake case he informed Mr. Irfan Mufti Deputy Executive Director SAP. He became so concerned and he get involved HRCP as well.
Visit to the SSP Green Town and DSP:
Mr. I A Rehman General Secretary and Mr. Mehboob Ahmad Khan law officer HRCP along with CLAAS team visited SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police), DSP (deputy superintendent of police) and urged them for the security of locals and Mushtaq Masih in the police station. They also asked the SSP circle police station Green Town that how the police can detain others while the nominated of the FIR is escaped. Mr. I A Rehman also wrote a letter to the Home Secretary in this concern. Police assured the team that police has provided full security and surety to the complainant party Jamat-ul-Dawat that police is trying hard to arrest the main accused therefore they should be very calm for the other residents in the area.
Mr. I A Rehman and Mr. Mehboob Ahmad asked CLAAS for leading the case and for the legal assistance as they are always there to support CLAAS morally. Later on October 12, 2013 CLAAS came to know that Adnan’s brother Irfan, Shehnaz Gill widow of Pervaiz Shahid (Mother of Adnan) aged 45 and Sajjida d/o Mukhtar Masih aged 40 (maternal Aunt of Adnan), Kamran (maternal uncle of Adnan) were taken in to the illegal custody of police at Township Police Station.
On the same day CLAAS team along with Mr. Mehboob Ahmad Khan went to the police station and asked for the release of women from the police station and took the full responsibility to produce them in the police station when they need them for any investigation.
On October 17, 2013 Mr. Joseph Francis, MBE (National Director CLAAS) and Mr. Asher Sarfraz (Field Officer, CLAAS) went to Township, Police station and met with SHO (Station House Officer) and high officials. The concerned authorities trusted CLAAS and gave the custody of Shehnaz Gill (Mother of Adnan) and Sajida Bibi (Aunt of Adnan) to Mr. Francis.
Shehnaz Gill and Sajida Bibi came to CLAAS office and said the following:
Statement of Shehnaz Gill:
Shehnaz Gill widow of Pervaiz Shahid aged 38, Christian by faith and resident of Bahadur Pura, Kot Lakhpat Lahore. She stated that she is widow for 23 years and after her husband she started job as lady health worker in a Government Hospital. She told that her elder son Irfan is working in Glass & Aluminum shop since one year while Adnan (Victim) is teacher in Quaid-E-Azam College. Shehnaz said that on the day of incident Irfan came home at 10:00 pm and informed her that Mohammad Abid trying to get register a blasphemy case against Adnan. They immediately locked their house and went to her sister house namely Irshad at Sher Shah. As, they reached their Adnan made telephonic call to his senior Pastor Javed John and narrate the whole incident. On his suggestion Adnan went to unknown place. Pastor Javed John took Shehnaz Gill and Irfan to Bishop Akram Gill (so called Bishop) office after some time Bishop Akram, took them to Bishop Jamsheed house and almost 7 police officers was present there, police started to investigate about Adnan but they do not disclose them about him.
Police took them to local police station and next day they brought them to Sahiwal Convent of Jesus and Mary Church and asked about Adnan but gate keeper explained them that he is not here. Later police kept them in custody till 7 days. Shehnaz told that police went her house along with Kamran (her brother) and obtained Adnan’s Academic Certificates, His Passport, Abida’s(her sister) passport and Identity card, and the amount of 1500/-Rs.
She informed CLAAS that her son is innocent and do not have any concern with that book he just read it but did not wrote anything on it and that will be prove by the handwriting. Shehnaz further, thanked CLAAS for support and efforts also requested for shelter because she was afraid from Mullah’s and Muslims extremists.
Statement Sajjida Bibi:
Sajjida d/o Mukhtar Masih aged 32, Christian by faith and resident of Lahore is unmarried and lived along with her sister Shehnaz Gill since many years. She runs her own NGO namely Welfare Community Savior at Borewala another District near Sahiwal. She said that on October 10, 2013 she was at her mother’s house in Borewala while llyas (Mustaq’s brother), Sabir (Mushtaq Business partner) and Kamran (her own brother) approached there and bring them in Lahore and gave Sajjida and Kamran in police custody. She also said that since 7days they are in police custody and police used to ask and pressurize them about Adnan. But as they were in custody how they could tell them where he was. Sajida further said that her mobile phone and diary is still in the police custody and they do not return her yet. Shehnaz and Sajida were thankful to CLAAS for their release from the police detention and for providing safe accommodation at CLAAS Rehabilitation centre. CLAAS provided them cloths to take bath and tooth brushes to clean their mouth as they did not have it for seven days in the police station. CLAAS will provide legal help to the victim family in this fake case and all other assistance.