Image: Shabir Masih now lives alone.
A trivial dispute over the right for sewage water to travel past a Muslim shrine, resulted in the killing of a young Christian man and his mother. Read more (here)
In October 2021 almost a year after the murder of Usman Masih RIP (25 yrs) and Yasmeen Bibi RIP (55 yrs), the killer Hasan Shakoor Butt was sentenced to death, however his mother Ishrat Bibi was shown leniency for her age, despite having begun the argument and calling for her son to murder Usman and Yasmeen. Read more (here)
Shabir Masih widower of Yasmeen is now seeking a review of the decision to exonerate Ishrat Bibi, as he comes to terms with having lost his whole family in one devastating day.
On 17th Jan 2022, BACA team visited Shabir Masih, the lonely father who lost his young son and wife brutally murdered by a wicked Muslim neighbor Hassan Shakoor Butt.
Shabir Masih is now seeking a review of the decision to exonerate Ishrat Bibi as he comes to terms with having lost his whole family in one devastating day.
Yasmeen Bibi (55 yrs) and Usman Masih (26 yrs) were slain on November 9th 2021. Before being shot dead they had first being insulted, beaten with a stick and spat on by Itrat Bibi a local Muslim woman, offended that sewage water from a Christian home ran past a Muslim shrine cared for by her family. The ritual impurity of the only Christian family in her local area had filled her with great rage and disgust. For years she tormented the Masih family by having her sons block their sewage pipes and calling them Choora (a derogatory term meaning filthy Christians) whenever she saw them in the streets. Read more (here).
At District Court Wazirabad during a hearing on 9th October, almost a year after his arrest, the judge decided in favour of the Claimant and ordered two death sentences and a fine of 600,000 Pak-rupees (£2547) for Muslim fundamentalist and murderer Hassan Butt. The court however acquitted his mother Itrat Bibi who was already on post arrest bail which it is believed was based on leniency for her being an elderly Muslim woman. The judgement read as follows:
“The convict Hassan Shakoor shall also pay Rs. 300,000/- each as compensation to legal heirs of each deceased under section 544-A Cr.P.C.
Failing to pay these amounts to the heirs of Yasmeen and Usman, convict Hassan Shakoor shall further undergo S.I [statutory imprisonment] for six months each”
Mr Masih is still to receive the compensation which may never arrive, as the written court punishment for failure to pay is a further 6 months imprisonment for each unpaid fine. We do not believe that Hasan Butt will mind the proposed further sentences considering he is faced with a death sentence. British Pakistani Christian Association have today emailed the High Commission of Pakistan and have asked for their help in forcing the court to obtain the fine through a land revenue process. This was revealed during our research of section 544-A of the Pakistan Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (read a copy here). We have offered the services of our solicitor to help Mr Masih obtain the compensation which would help him support his grandchildren, if that fails.
Mr Masih has now begun proceedings to challenge the decision to exonerate Itrat Bibi (in sympathy for her elderly years) and the man who put the gun in the hands of her son Shakoor Butt (a Muslim friend of the murderer named as Khizer Hayat). Mr Masih believes Itrat Bibi is very much responsible, as she began the attack that resulted in the death of his wife and son. He also contends that if Mr Hayat had not given the gun to Shakoor, both victims might be alive today. He is calling for both of these culprits to be tried under guilt by association laws [known a s Joint Enterprise in UK (click here)]. An application for review of the decision by Judge Hassan Abbas Syed additions at the Wazirabad District Court, has now been submitted at Lahore High Court.
Usman Masih is survived by his wife Mariyam Bibi and two daughters, Janat Gul (2.5 yrs) and Asma Usman (1.5 yrs). Asma was only eight days old when her father and grandmother Yasmeen Bibi (55 years) were murdered. Mariyam Bibi and her two daughters lived with Shabir Masih for some months after the murder of Usman, but was called back to the home of her parents who live some distance away in a small village in Gujrat. She will remarry soon with the consent of Shabir Masih who has no fears that that will affect his ability to meet with his grandchildren or relationship with Mariyam.
Shabir Masih, spoke with British Asian Christian Association, he said:
“I look after my son’s daughters and visit them and my daughter-in-law regularly and sometimes they visit me.
“They are all I have left of a beautiful family.
“I spend most of my life alone now but was always surrounded by people who loved me before the attack.
“I find myself wandering around aimlessly most days, my home is a reminder of what I have lost.
“My heart is so broken.”
“The release of Itrat Bibi and Khizer is painful.
“The family is showing no remorse and her husband has now become a tormentor.
“The two of them are as much guilty of my wife and son’s death as Shakoor.
“I saw my wife and son bleeding to death before my own eyes and cannot bear to see co-murderers go free.
“I await my time for heaven when I can be reunited with those I have lost, but till then will care for my grandchildren.”
BACA has been supporting the family financially since last year thanks to a long term commitment from a man who was once one of our beneficiaries in the UK. The money sent by BACA helps the family buy food and travel for court hearings and supports the children as they grow up.
Shabir Masih is now (58 years) and the grief of losing his wife and son has left him weak and frail. He has severe cardiac problems and takes medicine for a sever stomach ulcer. The cost of medicine and treatment is expensive and he has asked us to help. We are hoping to raise a further £50 a month for his regular expenses as per our original appeal. We have invited Shabir Masih to visit a Lahore Hospital for treatment of his ulcer. Once we have received a cost for the treatment we hope to be able to cover these costs through an appeal. You can donate towards support for Shabir and his grandchildren by clicking (here).
The father of murderer Shakoor Butt has returned from Arabia and is trying to influence Shabir Masih to forgive Shakoor Butt and has offered substantial compensation money. Shabir Masih has also alleged that during a court trial Shakoor Butt stared at him and tried to attack him. He states that he had to call a police man outside the court room to intervene because Shakoor Butt was pushing him on his shoulders. The police officer then reprimanded Shakoor Butt which stopped the provocation.
After the court had decided the case, Shakoor Butt also sent an influential landlord from the local village, who attempted to convince Mr Masih to reconcile with the Butt family. Mr Masih flatly refused the landlord’s request for Mr Masih to ‘soften your heart’ and asked him not to visit again.
Shakoor Butt is trying to create trouble for Mr Maish again. Two months ago he restarted an argument with Shabir Masih over cleaning the same sewage drain. Shakoor filed an application at Ahmad Abad Police Station and accused Shabir Masih of threatening him with a pistol over the drain.
Police called Shabir Masih to their police station despite all the history of this dispute. They even began an investigation until a Christian political leader from the village called at police station and informed the the police officer of how ludicrous the allegations were. The police have since warned Shakoor Butt to not waste police time on false unproven allegations.
Life for Shabir has become very lonely and our officers stay in regular communication with him to see how he is. Shabir has not lost an ounce of faith since the tragic murder of his family. He is still a believer and is a regular parishioner at his church in the neighbouring village of Hassan Kathor, where a larger Christian enclave exists. Shabir gets some comfort through fellowship with other church members.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“A family destroyed overnight yet Shabir Masih has clung to his faith even tighter.
“His life is a testament to us all.
“of course he goes through very dark depression but he continues to pray and worship God and awaits a time he will be reunited with his family in heaven.”
“Shabir is facing pressure to accept a compromise and to allow Hassan Butt to go free.
“We know he will not do this as he is adamant that justice should be served.
“Itrat Bibi has now taken a backstep and allowed her husband to become the main protagonist in threatening Shabir.
“It seems that despite all that happened the hatred that this and other local families have towards the only Christian home in their village has not dissipated.
“Shabir continues to challenge for the conviction of Itrat Bibi and Khizer Hayat who have escaped justice and show no remorse.
“He hopes a conviction will end the carte blanche attitude of some Pak-Muslims who use violence against Christians to eradicate their presence in their communities.”