Monday, 27 July 2015

A Muslim letting agent refuses to let a home to rent to a Christian

FAISALABAD: Ilyas Masih wanted to migrate from his village to Faisalabad after his two minor daughters gangrapped by Muslim men in their village last year.The trial of the case is pending in the court of Mr.Arshad Javed Additional and Session Judge,Jaranwala.

He is not safe in his village due to constant life threats from the alleged rapists.He decided to move from his village and will reside in some safe place.He talked with Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender who is counsel in this gangrapped case and mentioned about his apprehensions.
He went to Faisalabad and contacted with a Muslim letting agent, the agent took advance rent and Pagri including his own commission and told him to bring his luggage to settle in new home.He visited the home and agreed to take it on rents after making rent deed.
Next day when he came along with his luggage and children,the agent told and flatly refused to give the home to a Christian,he said in surrounding all are Muslim's homes and refused to let him home on rent.

Discrimination on religion based is a major problem which Christians have to faced in Pakistan.Christian children is school and Christian community in public and private sectors face discrimination and there is no amy proper laws which can redress this major issue.We need to make awareness among Majority to accept minority without discrimination if we wish to see a prosperous Pakistan.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

A Christian accused of blasphemy released and declared innocent

GUJRANWALA: Yesterday 25 July , a Christian man Arif Masih acquitted and declared innocent of blasphemy charges by the court of Mr. Iftikhar Husain Cheema Additional and Sessions Judge of Wazirabad after the statement of the complainant of the case Mr. Khuram Shahzad who recorded his statement in his favour and told the court that he was innocent and he did not commit any offence.

In October 2013 , two brothers Tariq Masih and Arif Masih had been falsely accused under blasphemy at Thatha Faqir Ullah , a Christian Colony of, Wazirabad city, District Gujranwala, the case FIR Number 533/2013 dated 29 October , 2013 under section 295 B PPC was registered at Police Station Saddar Waziranbad against them. Tariq Masih was relocated to Thailand and Arif Masih was arrested.

Our colleague Mr. Nadeem Masih a Christian lawyer worked diligently and made agreed the complainant and witnesses with the help of family of the victim to give their statements in the favour of the accused in the court and the complainant gave his statement which was considered by the court and the accused released.

Tariq Masih worked at the cutlery factory and in part time he used to sell firecrackers to earn extra money. Whereas his brother Arif Masih was working in Pakistan Railway and he is innocent and main accused was his brother Tariq who relocated to Thailand.

On 25 October , 2013 Muzammil Malik bought the firecrackers from Tariq Masih for the wedding of Zahid .Some of the firecrackers did not crack according to the complaint of Khurram Shahzad and when the firecrackers did not crack and he opened them and noticed that those were made with the Qoranic pages which was also witnessed by Tajjamul Butt and Muhammad Waris witnesses of the case.

LEAD is an advocacy and legal aid organisation working in Pakistan and fighting for minorities' Rights and defends victims of blasphemy laws.It promotes awareness through its educational projects.We at LEAD  request your moral and physical  support  for uplifting of poor and Christian community.

A visit to Asia Bibi in prison not allowed 

MULTAN: Today July 25 , 2015 , Sardar Mushtaq Gill , Human Rights Defender and Advocate High Court went to visit and confirm Asia Bibi's health condition who is presently confined in Multan women prison death cell. Mr. Gill was not permitted by jail officials to visit Asia about whom it is reportedly said from last months that she is suffering from intestinal bleeding , her health problems are only getting worse and she is in dire need of medical attention.
On 22 July , the Supreme Court stays the execution of Asia Bibi on blasphemy charges after granting leave to appeal and accepted her appeal for hearing.

Zulifqar Masih,Human Rights Defender education co-ordinator of LEAD along with Aric John , Advocate High Court and main counsel of LEAD were present in the court when the Supreme Court has heard the arguments advanced by Asia's lawyer. The full bench of Supreme Court ordered in the hearing and issued orders to stop implementation of death sentence till next order.

Asia Bibi was found charged of making derogatory comments about the Prophet Muhammad during an argument with a Muslim co-worker women.

Asia Bibi , a Pakistani Christian mother of five , is on death row , has been given a ray of hope when the Apex Court granted her leave to appeal and accepted for hearing. The appeal was set to be heard on 22 July.

50-year-old , Asia Bibi has been on death row since she was accused of committing blasphemy in June 2009 by her fellow-workers. Session’s Court in District Nankana , ruled capital punishment for Asia Bibi in 2010. Her defence lawyers filed an appeal against the decision in High Court while she remained in police custody since then.

During this period hearing of her appeal case was either rescheduled or delayed countless times. Nonetheless, on October 16 , 2014 the Lahore High Court sustained her death penalty after issuing a short order. Since her ordeal began, as per reports her health has deteriorated greatly.

Now LEAD has also started a petition calling for Bibi's release because the case has created a sense of insecurity among Christian community particularly among Christians working women. It also requested for  prayers and it urged to international community to lobby the Pakistani government for her release and prayers requests are sent to international community for Asia's release and our support.

Friday, 24 July 2015

A Christian mother of three abducted,forcibly converted and induced for marriage

PATTOKIA married Christian mother of three (Fouzia 25 )  was abducted by a Muslim landlord Muhammad Nazir 55 years old father of eight children on 23 July.The whole victim family worked at his fields and home without taking monthly salary at Burj Mahalam Chak No.35,Pattoki.

The victim family was assured by the abductor’s brother that their daughter would be returned soon. The poor christian family was so scared that they did not tell anyone but waited for return home of their daughter.

Today when the victim family again asked for return of their daughter,the Muslim landlord threatened that now their daughter has accepted Islam and got married with him.He would not hand over her to them.The victim family was threatened of dire consequences if any mess was tried to be created upon the issue.

The victim family approached to Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender and Advocate High Court for for legal assistance and help to bring back their daughter because the victim family is very poor too hire any lawyer.

The mother of victim has filed an complaint application with the police for registration of  a case FIR and for protection as she is being threatened by the Muslim Landlord.

This is not the first time that such an incident has taken place in the country. However, in this case, the man who allegedly abducted the Christian woman is married and woman also married.

On 6 July the same kind of case came on surface. A Christian mother (Musarat Bibi) was abducted,rapped. forcibly converted and married by a Muslim man Muhammad Waseem who also prepared a fake marriage certificate and a conversion certificate.Latter legal initiative was taken against him by LEAD's lawyers on the request of victim and his Christian husband.

In such issues,the victim’s family usually registers case FIR for abduction or rape with the local police station. The rapist, on behalf of the victim girl, registers a counter case FIR, accusing the Christian family of harassing the willfully converted and married woman and for forcing to convert the woman back to Christianity.

In most cases, the victim girl may be subjected to sexual violence, rape, forced prostitution, human trafficking and sale, or other domestic abuse or discarded from home after passing some time.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Christian women tortured, man's head shaved, paraded on donkeys on blasphemy accusation

Shiekhupura: Sardar Mushtaq Gill , Human Rights Defender and head of LEAD was informed about the incidence of blasphemy in Chak No. 460 Makki, Farooqabad on June 30, 2015 that two Christian women named Rukhsana and Rehana living in same home as joint family were using a flex as a carpet in their home. A Muslim neighbour lady came their home and noticed the use of flex and she told that she wanted to buy it for her home which she priced 400 Pakistani Rupees, while Christian women demanded 1,000 Pakistani Rupees as its price which they had originally paid. The arguments arose among Christian women and the Muslim woman.Then she started shouting that Christian women had committed blasphemy by using that Pena Flex as a carpet, alleging that it has images of 'Holy Books and Quran Verses.

On which angry Muslim mob gathered and dragged Christian women out of home and started beating and tortured them, man's head shaved, paraded on donkeys around the village.
Reportedly these are the facts:

Rukhsana wife of Awais Qamar Alias Gareeba and Rehana wife of Ashraf Masih are the two real sisters who live together in a joint family  in Chak No. 460 Makki village. Awais Qamar is a laborer and was working in a school’s building for the renovation of school. Rukhsana and Awais have four children namely Farzana, Waqas, wickson and Sherry. Whereas Rehana have two children named Chand and Sawera.

Awais found a used flex of the school having monogram of books on it and in Arabic it was written on it (God give me knowledge). As Rukhsana, Awais and their whole family are uneducated they do not know what was written on it. Rukhsana started using that Flex as a floor Matt. On 30 June at about 8:00 am one Muslim neighbor woman Kaneez Bibi visited their home,her husband is a Milk man and he used to sell milk in the village.She noticed the floor matt and asked Rukhsana to give her the matt. Rukhsana refused to give the floor matt to her and demanded Rs. 1,000 against the matt. Kaneez said that she only had 400 Rupees and Rukhsana couldn't take milk against 600 remaining amount, but Rukhsana insisted on cash payment against the floor Matt. Kaneez Bibi agreed and she said that she would call her brother to pay Rukhsana 1,000 Rupees. Kaneez Bibi went out and called one of her brother Muhammad Nasir to the home of Rukhsana. Muhammad Nasir son of Ahmad Yar reportedly belonged to Sipa-e-sahaba group noticed the Flex lying on the floor having something in Arabic written on it. He without giving it a second thought started beating Rukhsana while Kaneez Bibi joined him and then she went out and called other people as well that Rukhsana has committed Blasphemy. Within seconds the whole village surrounded the home of Rukhsana. The Villagers also called her husband Awais; they shaved the head of Awais and started doing the same with Rukhsana and Rehana but a few of the locals intervened and asked the mob not to do this with the women.Meanwhile the whole mob blacken the faces of the three Christians i.e. Rukhsana, Rehana and Awais and put the shoes garland in their necks and forced them to sit on the donkeys and paraded them in the whole village, teasing and beating them.

Some people from the village called the Police.During this time many people outside the village belonged to Sipa-e-Sahaba reached the spot while DPO (District police officer) also reached the village with hundreds of Police men. The police took over the entire village and surrounded the village to control the situation. DPO negotiated with the local Muslims and their head cleric Qari Yaseen who agreed on this condition that both families of Rukhsana and Rehana would leave the village and would not come back again, he also agreed not to burn the village but Qari Muhammad Nasir was not agree upon the settlement and forgiveness. He insisted to kill all of them as they have insulted the Holy Quran and the verses of Quran. DPO observed the Flex and put the Flex in police’s custody. DPO also knew that it was not Quranic verses and he tried to explain this to the mob but the angry mob was not ready to listen to the DPO on any condition so he put the whole family in the Police van and took them to Sheikhupura in his police station while left hundreds of Police men in the village for the security of the other Christians.

Reportedly the concerned SHO told that there is no FIR against the said accused because there was no blasphemy. But the police will stay in the village few days for the safety of the other Christians.

It is alarming things for Government to consider the continuously misused of blasphemy laws against the poor and defenceless Christians of Pakistan and mob violence on pretexts of blasphemy laws.It is time to strictly handle the issue of misuse of blasphemy laws against religious minority particularly Christians.Law should be in motion against the responsible and justice should be prevailed in society for peace and harmony.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Obstacle in Justice:The filed bail petition for mentally ill blasphemy accused withdrew without decision

LAHORE: On 24 May , 2015 a blasphemy case FIR number 424/2015 under section 295 B PPC registered at Police Station Gulshan Ravi,Lahore against a mentally unstable Christian man,Humayun Faisal (30).On 6 June LEAD's lawyers filed bail petition in the Court of Session Judge,Lahore which was fixed for 27 June for final arguments in the Court of Mr. Mubashar Nadeem Khan,Additional and Session Judge,Lahore after waiting a number of hearing for police record.

Yesterday 27 June early in the morning Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender and Advocate High Court along with team of LEAD Mr. Aric John, Advocate High Court,Mr. Rana Adnan, Advocate High Court and court clerk Mr. Qaiser Younas appeared in the court for final arguments and it was disclosed that their power of attorney was superseded by some other lawyers who did not want to get him release from jail.The judge asked about arguments on bail petition and the lawyer said they wanted to draw back it.The bail petition was withdrawn without any decision of court.

In March 2013,a case under section 295-C PPC registered against a Christian sweeper Sawan Masih and for his release a bail petition was filed by LEAD's lawyers and in the same way after making superseding the power of attorney of LEAD's lawyers the bail was withdrawn back without any decision of court.

There is a group of non-lawyers who just work on such cases and issues for their own motives and objectives instead of work for justice and get relief for victims.From blasphemy cases to rape cases,the same practice is going on recently in a gang-rapped case of Jaranwala,it was come on surfaced that there was one kind of obstacle in the way of seeking justice for victims is from the same group who first worked on it.

In this case a large number of people gathered on the spot and some of them even tried to burn him alive but on the intervention of police , he was saved. Later a charged mob reached the house of the accused and recorded their protest.The mob, some armed with deadly weapons, chanted slogans of Allah-o-Akbar also resorted to aerial firing. They looted around 15 houses in the area.Fearing for their lives, most residents left their houses .

There is a long history of religion-based trouble in the county and Lahore and its surroundings have been at the center of some ugly faith-related incidents in the recent past.

In March 2013, Christian residents of Joseph Colony, Lahore, were attacked, leading to destruction of Christian homes on a large scale.
In November 2014, a Christian couple was burnt alive to death in Kot Radha Kishan after a false allegation of desecration of Quranic pages.

Then in March this year, police was posted at various churches in the wake of violence following twin suicide attacks in two churches in Youhanabad.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Rights Lawyer's Legal Fight for Justice for Raped Victim Christian Girls

JARANWALA: Two Christian girls ,who are real sisters, allegedly gang-raped after kidnap at gunpoint, whilst using forest area as toilet last year on 28 November at evening 6:30 pm. The alleged both accused released from jail after granted bail from trial court Jaranwala.

The cancellation of bail petition no.3482/15 against Muhammed Azeem, one of the allegedly rapists of Sherish and Farzana, two Christians girls that were repeatedly raped and brutalised by five men, was fixed on 15th May 2015 in a Lahore High Court trial presided over by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood.
On this date the team of lawyers representing the accused man battled with BPCA partner LEAD attorney Sardar Mushtaq Gill , Human Rights Defender, and his team.  Both teams of attorneys set out their cases during which Mr.Gill pleaded for the evidence of the two sisters to be recorded away from the trial court in Jaranwala, he argued that the accused men and their cohorts are continuously extending threats towards witnesses for the victim sisters, their family and Gill himself whose brother was shot.

The lawyer of the accused  agreed to this undertaking  however Judge Sardar Tariq Masood directed the trial court to conclude the trial at Jaranwala court by 9th June 2015.  He warned Muhammed Azeem that any bad behaviour could lead to immediate re-arrest and incarceration of the both. Mr.Justice Masood spoke directly to Mr.Gill and instructed him to submit an application for re-arrest to the court should the accused or his cohorts create any further problems, advising Gill that the court would send Muhammed Azeem and Shahbaz back to jail immediately for any misdemeanour.

On 30th May 2015 the opening hearing was at trial court Jaranwala and the two sisters recorded their statements as did many of their witnesses including the complainant Ilyas Masih, father of the two sisters.

Police and the designated mediact practitioner have also submitted their evidences, which has been duly recorded.The lawyer of the Accused did not appear at the court, which has delayed the potential cross-examination also.  The next date for the trial court hearing has been fixed for today 4th June by the Additional and Session Judge Arshad Javaid.   

Today ,the trial case fixed for cross-examination of witnesses and one witness was disappeared from court after threats extended towards both private witnesses.The attorney of the accused refused to cross the witnesses on the pretext that one witness was not present.

Mr.Gill pleaded that the both private witnesses were being threatened to face dire consequences if they appeared for cross-examination.The one witness who was present in court stated that he was being threatened by the alleged accused to be fired at by them.The judge recorded it in interim orders.One complaint application has been also submitted in the concerned police station.

Now the case fixed for tomorrow because of the direction of Lahore High Court again for crss-examination of witnesses.Mr.Gill remains confident that justice will prevail for the two sisters,he said because we believe in justice which is being provided by Pakistani judiciary.