A blasphemy case under the offence 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) was registered against a Christian Patras Masih on February 19, 2018. After knowing about the tense situation immediately CLAAS fact finding team visited the occurrence. On February 19, 2018 at 08:00PM CLAAS team comprising Mr. Danish George, Mr. Sohail Habil and Mr. Iqbal Khokhar from PCNP visited Tair village, Shahadara District Lahore under the supervision of National Director CLAAS Mr. M. A. Joseph Francis MBE to gather the actual facts of the Blasphemy incident. CLAAS Team engaged Mr. Tahir Khokhar an active young local resident of the area he facilitated the CLAAS team to reach the place of incident and meet the other local residents and victim’s family members. Patras Masih a 16 year old young Christian lad who is an illiterate due to that he was working in a private bank as a cleaner. He has other 3 siblings including 1 elder sister who is married and 2 younger brothers. His father Indreyas Masih who is a government employee and working in WASA (Water and Sanitation Agency Lahore) as a driver and his mother is a housewife. There was a facebook group named (Paglon Ki Basti) made by some Muslims in which Patras was also added along with other Christians. It is stated that on January 16, 2018 Patras has posted a photo of Mosque’s Dome on which he was standing by putting his feet on it.
The day he posted sacrilegious photo in the facebook group tension aroused but the matter lingered on. On Monday morning February 19, 2018 a large number of Muslims gathered including activists of (Labaik Ya Rasool Allah) on the road (Shahdara Intersect) and blocked every nook of it. They gathered in the shape of a mob burnt tyres on the road and demanded that the suspect must be arrested immediately. He has blasphemed against our sacred place and has hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims. After that they marched towards the area of Christians where Patras Masih was living. Hundreds of Muslim people gathered and started throwing bricks on the Christian houses. The police reached on time and tried hard to calm the tension but as the police were less in number so they SP ordered to get some more force. Police tried to disperse the mob but the agitation continued more. Some local Muslim clerics intervened to calm the situation. When
CLAAS fact finding team reached the occurrence place the entire slum of Christians was empty and the local Christian’s locked their houses left the place. When CLAAS team visited the incident place they saw the large mob was still there and huge amount of Police force was also deployed there. Police did their good job therefore no casualty has been found. After that CLAAS also met the accused grandfather named Pervaiz Akhtar Naz who was in contact with the victim’s family. CLAAS asked him that if they want we can take the accused and his family to our safe house because they are not safe anymore. CLAAS team also assured them that they will provide them all sorts of legal aid and other assistance just to save their lives from this dangerous incident. While the team was sitting with Patras’s grandfather he received a call that they have handed over the accused Patras to the SP Police through Senator Kamran Michael. Patras Masih is now in police custody in Upper Mall Police Station and the FIR has been lodged against him under PPC section 295C FIR number 174/18 in Maachis Factory Police Station. The accused family is still hiding and unsafe.
CLAAS Team’s Observation:
1. When the incident took place on January 16, 2018 why police did not took action on the same date to resolve the matter?
2. Why the police lingered on this matter and did not gathered Peace Committee Activists of the localities to resolve the matter?
3. Who highlighted this issue and meanwhile what police was doing?
4. Why police has lodged the FIR under section 295C without investigating the matter free and fair?
5. Isn’t this shows that 295C has been used misleadingly on teenager who are illiterates only?
6. Why these blasphemy cases are occurring now days on social media sites?
7. The photo on which the accused Patras Masih standing is a photo shopped.
8. Why this discriminatory law is wrongly used against innocents?
9. Why the government is not serious about repealing this discriminatory law which can be used as tool for anybody?
10. Police should not have declared 295C FIR immediately instead they should arrest the suspect and after investigation they could declare the actual law according to the PPC laws.
11. Why this matter has not been resolved on the grass root level?
12. The FIR registered 295-C PPC which is lawfully incorrect section instead they should be lodge the FIR under section 295-A PPC (for hurting religious sentiments).