On October 5, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. Mr. Joseph Francis MBE, National Director CLAAS came to know through sources that Pakistani shop keepers introducing a new style of hatred among communities by printing Holy Cross under the baby shoes in the shoes factories. CLAAS team headed by Mr. Francis including Mr. Nasir Anjum Advocate High Court and Mr. Hunny Bashir (Assistant In-charge legal department) investigated the matter and found that there is a shop keeper named Waqs s/o Shaikh Muhammad Ilyas who sells shoes in Sadar Bazar Cantt Lahore has a big stock of red color baby shoes printed with Holy Cross under the shoe (outside the shoe sole). CLAAS team also noticed that there were some pairs of gent’s baby shoes with British Flag.
The team bought a pair of each shoes (with Holy Cross and with the British flag) went to the Sadar Police Station (area police station Lahore) and met with Malik Shabbir Awan the
Station House Officer (SHO) to report the matter.
Mr. Joseph Francis MBE urged the SHO and demanded to take serious legal action against the people involved and to register a case FIR under the Telegraph Act against the master minds who trying to spread hatred by printing Holy Cross under the shoes sole in the shoe factories. Mr. Francis also said that on number of occasions the Christians could not get justice as they were hurt and their religious feeling were hurt by the extremists groups. Even the police did not care about the passion of Christian community towards their religion and never ever registered case against the accused to punish. Due to the impunity the extremists do the same things again and again. Mr. Francis gave the reference of the same case registered against a shop keeper in Anarkali Bazar Lahore in 2011. CLAAS team gave an application in the police station, FIR no. 368/11 under section 295-A PPC was lodged against the shopkeeper who sale out shoes printed with the Holy Cross on the top, police did not bother to investigate the matter and the accused was respectfully released by the court.
The SHO was thankful to Mr. Francis to report this serious issue and assured the team that he will closely monitor the investigation to find out the accused. He also promised that there would be justice as the black sheep’s should be punished who trying to plant hatred among the communities using such way. The SHO called upon Waqas Sheikh the shopkeeper for interrogation of the case in the presence of CLAAS team.
Waqas informed the SHO that he was unaware that there was a Holy Cross under the shoes as he purchased 12 pairs shoes for his shop from a very famous Shah Almi Market in Lahore and has sale out about six pairs. He further explained that it is China made Shoe Company which is supplying this kind of material, he showed himself an innocent in this matter.
Mr. Joseph Francis asked police that we do not want to bring any innocent to punish but very much concerned and hope the full cooperation of police in finding out about the real culprits, master minds and the elements involved as it is a heinous offence against The Society and The State.
Updates to lodge FIR:
On October 08, 2014 Mr. Joseph Francis MBE (National Director of CLASS), Mr. Nasir Anjum Suba advocate High Court, Hunny Bashir Assistant In-charge legal department CLAAS, Mr. Martan Javaid from PCNP and some respectable from Christians visited the Police Station Sadar North Cantt as they wanted to know about the police investigation and to get a copy of registered case FIR.
The team found that Malik Shabbir Awan SHO was showing attitude and started to make lame excuses to provide copy of lodged FIR. When the Christian saw that the SHO was delaying in registering the case FIR against the culprits and demanded the immediate action of police and staged protest demonstration outside the Police Station. Mr. Joseph Francis controlled Christians and assured them that they will stay in the police station until the FIR registered.
The SHO called upon Asif Atta In-charge Investigation and ask him to lodge the case FIR.
But he said that he can only lodge case FIR after an order of the Superintendent of Police (SP). Later the SHO promised that he will lodge FIR with the concern of SP as soon as possible. On October 09, 2014 in the morning at 09:00 a.m. Mr. Joseph Francis along with
his team reached at the Police Station Sadar Cantt as the SHO promised to lodge FIR and provide a copy them. The SHO was absent from the police station, after two hours he came
and started making the excuses again. Christians started chanting slogans against Police. Then SHO Shabbir Awan accompanied Mr. Joseph Francis to Shakeel Khokhar SP for meeting. Mr. Joseph Francis reported the matter to the SP and demanded him to order police to get registered case FIR against the extremists. The SP assured Mr. Francis that the case FIR would be registered the same day on October 09, 2014 and a solid legal action would be taken against the elements behind.
The same date on October 09, 2014 FIR # 959/14 offence under section 295-C has been registered against unknowns in the Saddar police station Cantt Lahore on the complain of Mr. Joseph Francis National Director CLAAS-Pakistan. CLAAS has taken full responsibility to represent the legal case. We believe that Christian communities’ full moral support would be there.
To print Holy Cross under the Shoe and to print British flag on the shoe by the shoe making factories only to increase and spread hatred among Muslims for Christians. It is a concept of extremists that United Kingdom is a Christian country and to express their hatred to Christians they printed the British flag on the shoes. Minorities are suffering in Pakistan by the hands of Muslim religious outfits and extremists groups. They often face discrimination as they do not enjoy equal rights and equal status in Pakistan. In the cases of blasphemy Christians and other minorities are attacked and their houses including other belongings are destroyed and burn by the Muslim extremists, as there are number of examples of such events including Joseph Colony Lahore. The case FIRs against people from minority groups are registered without any delay while the police clearly know that the 100% of blasphemy allegations are false. On the other side the Christian community and Hindus are ignored by the police and their true cases are not registered against Muslim extremists groups when Christian’s feelings hurt by the Muslim extremists. We are sure that if the shop keeper was Christian and he sale out such kind of material printed about Islam, he would be killed at the spot and the shop would be burnt without investigation and informing any police authority and the case FIR get registered without delay. Unfortunately we are living in such country where there is a law & order situation, no one cares about human lives, human values and no respect for other religions. We just pray and hope that there would be a day of justice and May the Lord’s peace prevail in Pakistan.