FIR No: 293/2017 (Police Station Ali Pur, Gujranwala)
Date of FIR: 12/8/2017
Date of Arrest: 13/8/2017 (Presently confined in Central Jail Gujranwala)
Alleged Offence: 295 B Pakistan Penal Code
Asif, a 15/16 year old Christian teenager (legally minor) has been put to agony of persecution. He is accused of allegedly burning the Muslim’s book Koran.
Grace and Peace Chairman Shahzad Ahmed advocate himself visited Asif in Central Jail Gujranwala after getting special permissions from jail authorities. Asif is falsely robed in the present case. He is not only a minor but also mentally retarded. He is no mature than a six years old kid. He is not able to form that criminal intention, Mens Rea, that is eminent for committing such heinous religious crime.
Asif is hardly able to tell his proper name. He is quite innocent. During meeting with us, he however denied all the allegations falsely levelled against him by simply saying that “I did not burn Holy Koran”. Asif was missing his family and was depressed.
Grace and Peace Foundation also visited Asif’s family in the evening, its a distant village near Wazirabad, Jamke Chatta. Asif’s father Stephen Masih, brother Mujahid Masih, his mother, cousin and grandfather talked to us and denied any possibility of commission of this offence by Asif as he is still as innocent as a 6 years old kid. They still cannot believe what they are going through.
This persecuted family is very poor and lives below all international standards. Even there was no entrance gate in the house. A single room, an outside open kitchen made with mud and a water hand pump is all what they have. Stephen told that he is a domestic farm worker. When asked about Muslim’s holy book Koran, Stephen said,
” Our Lord Jesus has taught and ordered us to love everyone and give respect to all the religions. We respect Muslim’s holy book and also their religion. If we will not respect others religious feelings we will be disobeying Lord Jesus.”
The whole family reiterated that Asif is not even capable of committing the alleged offense because of mentally handicapped condition.Grace and Peace Foundation assured its full cooperation with Asif and his family in this difficult time. Chairman GPF offered legal help that was accepted by family.
Stephen added, ” We want justice for our son, if he is not guilty as he is not, the persons who leveled false and frivolous allegations must be brought to justice and punished as severe as punishment of blasphemy law. Life of our whole family is ruined, we are afraid now. Our innocent son is behind the bars for the alleged crime he is not even aware of”
What is Blasphemy Law’s history?
The offences relating to religion were first codified by India’s British rulers in 1860, and were expanded in 1927. Pakistan inherited these laws when it came into existence after the partition of India in 1947.
Between 1980 and 1986, a number of clauses were added to the laws by the military government of General Zia-ul Haq.
What is actual Law?
Chapter XV of Pakistan Penal Code deals with “Offenses against religions”. The most famous section 295 of this chapter related to blasphemy laws are given below:
295. Injuring or defiling place of worship, with Intent to insult the religion of any class: Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction damage or defilement as an insult to their religion. shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
295-A. Deliberate and malicious acts Intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting Its religion or religious beliefs: Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the ‘religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations insults the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both. Sec. 295-A ins. by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, XXV of 1927.
295-B. Defiling, etc., of Holy Qur’an : Whoever wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur’an or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life. Sec. 295-B added by P.P.C. (Amendment) Ordinance, I of 1982.
295-C. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Similar Case of Persecution:
False accusations against a child with mental disability:
One of the cases detailed in the report involves Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl with a learning disability who was 14 years old when she was accused of blasphemy by a local cleric who accused her of burning pages of the Qur’an.
Despite being a child with a mental disability, she was arrested by the police and charged.
After a three-month ordeal in the glare of the media, The Islamabad High Court quashed the charge, noting that she had been falsely implicated without any evidence and that a prosecution would have permitted the courts, themselves, to be used as a tool for ulterior motives.
Rimsha Masih and her family fled to Canada, where they were given asylum because of the threats they faced.