Christian couple’s children await justice amid blasphemy charges

Photo- voicepk.net

 

LAHORE: On Friday, September 8, a First Information Report (FIR) on blasphemy charges against a Christian couple was registered at the North Cantt police station on the complaint of Muhammad Taimur.

However contradictory details have surfaced, and the police have allegedly accepted being pressured by right-wing extremists into registering the FIR.

Social activist Nasir Jameel, head of the Lahore-based Living Water Society, has been actively involved in the case. According to Jameel, the couple, who work as sanitation workers and domestic help respectively, have been in judicial custody since Saturday. They were accused by local Muslims from the Dogaij Chowki area of Harbanspura of desecrating Quranic pages.

The complainant, Muhammad Taimoor, alleged that he witnessed pages being thrown from the roof of a nearby house. Upon investigation, Taimoor claimed to have discovered Quranic pages and promptly reported the incident to the police.

While talking to Voicepk.net, Taimoor said that he was visiting a local market near his house at almost 12:15 a.m. to get some food and was accompanied by his friend, Hafiz. While Hafiz and Taimoor were waiting for their food, they saw pieces of paper falling down in the street.

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“HAFIZ SAID TO ME, ‘IT SEEMS LIKE THESE PIECES HAVE QURANIC VERSES ON THEM.’ UPON HAFIZ’S SPECULATION, WE GRABBED ONE OF THOSE PIECES AND IT DID HAVE QURANIC VERSES ON IT,”

Taimoor recounted.

Taimoor then added that as they were collecting those pages, the shopkeeper nearby told them that the same incident had occurred a day before. Upon further exploration, Taimoor concluded that those pieces were flying off the roof of the house next to them.

“The top of the house was dark, it was a double-storeyed house, and the street light illuminated the door of the house which we then knocked on,” Taimoor narrated the events of the midnight hours of 8 September.

The door was opened by a woman. Taimoor inquired about the pages, and she said it was possible that her kids had been playing with the bundle of scraps that she brought back home from a house in Paragon City where she works as a house help.

Taimoor said that they did not believe her, and they insisted on looking into her house. The woman first showed hesitation, but then she let them enter.

“There was nothing on the ground floor, everything was normal there, but then we asked her to go upstairs. She was reluctant about it, but we persisted in checking the upper portion of the house,” said Taimoor.

Taimoor alleges that while moving to the upper portion of the house, they came across pages on the stairs that looked like pages from the Holy Quran. In the upper portion, there were two other people as well who may have been sleeping.

According to Taimoor, he found a pink-colored school bag behind the water tank of the house. He alleges that the bag was full of pages with Quranic verses written on them. The events of the night led Taimoor to make a call to the Punjab Police helpline, who swiftly reported to the scene. Meanwhile, the woman’s husband also came back home.

The registered FIR also states that Taimoor confronted the woman Kiran, who explained that her minor children may have unknowingly been involved. Further inspection led to the discovery of additional pages in a pink-colored bag near the water tank on the rooftop.

An FIR was registered against the couple, and they were taken into police custody while their children were left with a close relative.

Muhammad Taimoor, alias Mian Taimoor, runs a dairy business in the area and is the Pakistan Muslim League (N)’s counselor for the Rangers Chaudhury Colony Lahore, located in the North Cantt region of Lahore.

However, Jameel disputes the contents of the FIR, asserting that the couple was not present in the house during the alleged incident. He claims that Kiran was at a neighbor’s house and Masih was at work.

Kiran maintains her innocence, stating that she had no knowledge of the presence of holy pages in the plastic bag. She explained that the bag, containing what she believed to be waste paper, was given to her by a Muslim employer with the intention of selling it to a scrap vendor.

Jameel further recounts a confrontation between the accuser and the couple, where they pleaded their innocence and begged for forgiveness on behalf of their minor children.

Despite their pleas, the police were called, resulting in the arrest of the Masih family and two guests, with one guest sustaining injuries during the altercation.

Jameel, who has taken custody of the couple’s three children, emphasizes the distress experienced by the children, with one suffering from rickets and another dealing with mental health challenges. He has arranged legal representation for the couple, with hopes that the court will consider their bail application on compassionate grounds.

While speaking to other news sources, the North Cantt Police Station cited pressure from religious activists as a factor in the couple’s arrest, seeking to prevent potential violent protests. Jameel asserts that the arrest was made under duress and calls for a fair and just investigation.

Source- voicepk.net, September 12, 2023

 

By voicepk.net

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