Another case of blasphemy has been registered against one Sajid Masih. There is no information on back story, but a Muslim filed a complaint against the Christian saying he burned pages of the Quran. Typically, within a few hours, mobs of 1000's of Muslims surrounded the police station where the victim Sajid was held, demanding the police hand him over to them.
However there are some slightly better news on two other blasphemy cases. In 2010, a Christian married couple with 6 children were sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly defiling the Koran and other associated blasphemy charges. The couple, Munir Masih and wife Ruqayya Bibi, were originally charged in December 2008, after a row between their children and the children of a family whose driver made the false accusations a few days later. The accusation was that Bibi had touched the Quran without ablutions, or alternatively that she had let her hair fall on an open Koran. The couple recently won their appeal. BPCA would like to thank Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi for seeing that justice was done, but we also note that this false accusation took 3 and a half years to be exposed and the victims exonerated. This was not a simple miscarriage of justice case, but yet more evidence of the situation Christians must face in Pakistan where a row can lead to false imprisonment for years.
And in another even better piece of news, a blasphemy accusation near Gojra that started as so many do, ended very differently to most such situations. The story began with a spat between Asif Masih and Mohammed Boota. Boota and accomplices roused some Muslims and burst into the house of Masih's family and pushed him and his father around, then made false accusations of blasphemy. The police immediately arrested Masih.
However - and it warms BPCA's heart to be able to report this given that so often we have to report terrible crimes on the part of Muslim landlords as well as religiously partisan condemnation of blasphemy victims - the rich local landlord Chaudhary Khalid Cheema made sure Masih could defend himself, saying
'being Muslim is no reason to defend Muhammad Boota because his behaviour towards Asif Masih was repugnant.
I have no doubts that the young Christian is innocent. We are ashamed of what happened in Korian and Gojra in 2009, because no one has started an impartial investigation. . . . We will stand by the Christians for their rights, and will live together with equal respect and dignity'
At the trial, the entire (mostly Muslim) community attended and stood up for Masih before the judges. Just over a week from the original arrest, Masih was released.
Local sources are hoping this marks a turning point for the Christian community in the area after many incidents in the Gojra area.
Praise God, and pray that long may this attitude continue and spread!