Imagine. Imagine that someone posts something, a photo-shopped offensive image, on Facebook and it appears on your feed. Imagine someone else takes your
phone and goes through your Facebook feed and sees it, or, who knows, maybe they actually posted it as if it came from you, or pressed like themselves
from your phone, and for that you face death by hanging – or your family and you being lynched by a mob. Imagine you are arrested and charged and your
family have to flee for their lives into hiding. Imagine that you are pressured to admit to your ‘crime’. You refuse. The police go and delete that
message that appeared on your feed because it was deemed so offensive, and they beat you and torture you repeatedly until you confess to a crime that
is life imprisonment or death by hanging. The person who posted it gets away scot free. The person who created it gets away scot free, but you face
a death sentence, because even if the state does not put you to death, you are marked out as worthy of death by the violent extremists of your nation,
of which there are many, a good number of them in prison with you.
Let’s repeat that. Someone else created it. Someone else posted it. Someone else saw it, and happened to do so whilst scrolling down your Facebook
on your phone. For that you must die, reported by the ‘friend’ who saw it on your borrowed phone. This is the reality for one 16 year old Christian teenage boy in Pakistan called Nabeel Masih.
It wasn’t a case of something said in an argument over religion. It wasn’t even physically planted evidence outside a school or inside a home or a
bag, as has happened multiple times to various Christians in Pakistan. Just a post. That someone else created. Imagine the utter insanity and injustice.
And the same police who have tortured a confession out of you have deleted the evidence that could prove your innocence, and proclaimed to the whole
of your nation and the world that you are guilty.
British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) chairman said ‘Words cannot express the insanity, the depravity of this situation. If this kind of
thing is sanctioned by the government – and by not interfering swiftly to put an end to it they will in effect be sanctioning it – then the Pakistani
government has taken leave of all moral sense, and any semblance or pretence of protection for its Christian and minority citizens. Pakistan already
has the shame of officially being the 6th worst country in the world for abusive treatment of its Christians, only a hairs-breadth behind
Syria, where Isis is massacring and raping Christians en masse. The precedent set by allowing this farce, this abomination to continue a second more
will confirm that the insane are in charge of the asylum, that for all its protestations of promoting human rights, the deeds show that the Pakistani
state is in bed with the worst of extremists. We call on the government of Pakistan to intervene now and set this innocent boy free, and for those
officers who tortured a false confession out of him and fraudulently deleted evidence to be brought to a swift and firm justice as a deterrent to other
officers who abuse Christians, of whom there are a good many, despite the claims of increasing professionalism and human rights awareness in the police
forces of Pakistan’.
It is long past time to stand up and do something. If you want to help save Nabeel’s life as well as that of his family who are still in hiding, and
fight this injustice, there are several things you can do. Pray for him and the other Christians in Pakistan in similar situations – to be spared the
noose of the state and the lynching of the mob. You can use #SaveNabeel on Twitter and Facebook to make more and more people aware of it.
Please sign our petition (click here)
You can call and/or text the following police officers. You will need to quote his FIR No – 487/16:
DPO Ali Nasir Rizvi: +92 (0) 322 4440512
Investigating Officer Mhd Hasan: +92 (0) 301 4703233
You can also write to the head of the Punjab police, Provincial Police Officer / Inspector General Police Mr Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera. His official bio
is here: http://punjabpolice.gov.pk/igp_mushtaq_sukhera. In particular, the
last line is relevant:
He is committed to serve the people of Punjab by making the Punjab Police a publically accountable, democratically controlled, politically neutral,
and professionally efficient organization.
Ask how can a police force that tortures confessions out of someone for something someone else has seen and done, and then destroys the evidence can
be considered a ‘professionally efficient organisation’ and so on, and politely but firmly demand swift action against the police officers who have
done this. You can ring or fax on the following numbers:
There are also a number of additional contact details for relevant sections in the Punjab police, including a Human Rights cell, and the head of Discipline:
AIG, Human Rights Cell
Personal Staff Officer to the IGP
Assiatant Director (Private Secrectary) to the IGP
Additional IGP, Establishment
You can also write or email the Pakistani embassy in London:
London Pakistani High Commission, Embassy Building, 34-36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 9JN
Other contact details are here: http://www.phclondon.org/contactus/
We suggest that you should say something like the following, respectful, but firm:
I am / We are writing to you urgently about the case of the 16 year old Christian Nabeel Masih from near Kasur, Punjab, FIR 487/16. We are deeply
concerned about the grave injustice and appalling police behaviour in this case. This young man has been charged with blasphemy for something someone
else did on Facebook that appeared in his Facebook feed, and not only have the police tortured him into a false confession when he defended his innocence,
but from all accounts they appear to have deliberately destroyed the evidence that would likely prove that innocence.
I / We must tell you that Pakistani has an appalling record for its treatment of its Christian minority, so much so that their situation in Pakistan
has been independently ranked as virtually the same as Syria, where ISIS are slaughtering and raping Christians, and this case is a prime example of
why, and why the Pakistani police have such an appalling reputation around the world. I / We urge in the strongest possible terms for Masih to be released
and he and his family protected, and for the officers who tortured him and deliberately destroyed evidence be reprimanded and disciplined severely
as a deterrent to others.
(For the senior Punjab police officers, you could also add something like this:
Inspector General Police Mr Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera publicly proclaims on the Punjab police website that : ‘He is committed to serve the people of Punjab
by making the Punjab Police a publically accountable, democratically controlled, politically neutral, and professionally efficient organization.’ I
/ We would ask you: Does the behaviour of the Punjabi police towards Nabeel in this case in any way fit that goal? How is acting in this way in any
sense serving the millions of Christian citizens in Punjab. We demand that the officers who acted in such a disgraceful manner be held publically accountable,
otherwise any pretence of the Punjab Police to be a professional police organisation will be utterly swept away.)
I / We note that the Quran in Sura 5.43-9 confirms the Gospel of Isa, son of Mary, and in that Gospel (Matthew 25) Isa most solemnly warned that the
criteria for heaven or hell on judgement day was the good or bad treatment of persecuted and suffering Christians, ‘the least of these brothers of
mine’. Therefore we urge you, for the sake of your own souls if nothing else, to take action in the case of Nabeel Masih, one of those brothers Isa
spoke of. The eyes of multitudes of Christians around the world are once again on Pakistan to see how it treats their brothers and sisters, and whether
its name will be sullied yet further, or if justice will be done.