A Christian convert from Hinduism and his Hindu co-worker were arrested in Lahore for allegedly burning a Koran and a chart of Koranic verses.
The legal defence lawyer has argued that the victim has been the target of an attack, as a consequence of fear amongst Muslim’s, of the growing conversion rates of Hindu’s to Christianity, in Pakistan.
Javed Masih, A Christian and his colleague Anand Lal, a hindu were arrested after senior headmaster Abdul Ghafoor Shah, of Government Excellence High School, filed a report about charred Koranic verses at the institution. Though the two men were not named on the FIR, they were promptly arrested after a further statement from Mr Shah.
A local Islamic Cleric Maulana Muhammed Ishaq of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam – a group with known extremist ideology- then led a mob to the household Javed Masih and called for violent action against the children of the blasphemer. They threatened to burn down Mr Masih’s house with his wife and children inside, however the family escaped to a brothers house.
Masih’s wife, whose name is withheld for security reasons, said the family was targeted by Islamist groups angered by Hindu conversions to Christianity instead of Islam.
“Almost all Hindus who have converted, including us, accepted Christ as our savior not under any pressure, but of our free will,” she said. “The Hindu community is often targeted by Muslim groups, and our girls are forcibly taken and converted to Islam, so the community has a natural hatred for Islam.”
Baghdadi Police Inspector Amir Ghauri has informed media that the suspect Javed Masih has confessed to the crime. However the defence lawyer for Mr Masih has alleged the confession was brought out under duress. Moreover they have queried the retention of Mr Lal for questioning concerned that he is being pressurized to implicate Mr Masih.
Defence Lawyers have also highlighted a lack of credible witness who saw the incident and the motive for the burning. Moreover the two Imams who arrived at the scene within two minutes had no particular reason to be there, suggesting contrivance.
The incident is sure to result in a long sentence for Mr Masih and the BPCA calls for Christians to pray for this innocent victim.
Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the BPCA said;
“Incidents like these inevitably lead to incarceration of innocent victims for no reason, other than, their particular faith adherence.”
He added; “This is a shameless act of deceit and intolerance something must be done to curb the impunity, that perpetrators of such devious acts enjoy. Without measures to protect the innocent minorities living there, Pakistan simply falls way short of international equality conventions.”