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Mentally-ill Christian charged with 'blasphemy' in Sahiwal

By PK Christian
Posted May 11, 2011 in Politics
Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law has again claimed another victim, this time in Chichawatni under Sahiwal district where a mentally ill Christian youth 25-year-old Babar Masih; son of Iqbal Masih a resident of Shakir Colony.
Clerics gathered an angry mob outside the Masih family's residence and demanded he be handed over to them for justice, a case was filed against Babar on May 2nd 2011 at the local police station. The mobs threatened to attack and force their way into the house of the alleged blasphemer. Police then from another entrance to the house took him into a police van.
As soon as someone from the mob noticed all the policemen moving towards the road they then realized that Babar was out of the house; the mob chased the vehicle shouting slogans and demanding Babar to be handed over to them.
Seizing the opportunity, the rest of the Masih family ran for their lives as they know the mob would soon come back to vent their anger. The Masih family is now in hiding. Three families related to Babar have fled their homes to save their lives; they are also the only Christians in the neighborhood.
Amjad the brother of the accused said that many neighbours had informed him that local clerics had forced and pressured many people to provide false testimonies to the police to build up a case in order to register an FIR.
Babar is being accused of blasphemous and abusive words (or language) towards the Prophet Mohammed, Babar being a mentally ill person is an easy target for those wanting to fabricate blasphemy law cases.
It is being said that Babar was walking along the side of a mosque and used abusive language and insulted the Prophet and the local cleric is a witness; however the FIR is not registered by any person from the mosque but a dairy farmer named Zeeshan Arain who resides in the same lane as the Masih family.
Christian leaders has tried to reach an agreement with the clerics unsuccessfully who were reluctant to withdraw the case and accept Babar as a mentally ill person.
Sahiwal is a small city in Punjab known for it's dairy farms where the literacy rate is still low: about 30% overall and 51% in the city of Sahiwal. Sahiwal has also given Pakistan Abdus Salam, Pakistan's only Nobel Prize winner who was born in Santokdas, District Sahiwal.
The late Zia-ul-Haq introduced blasphemy laws in Pakistan that till today hang over the minorities as a guillotine framing them with fabricated cases for revenge or personal enmity.
Will Babar be given justice or will be police bow down to Mullahcracy ?
Source: Life of a Pakistani Christian

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