Pakistan based human rights organization gives shelter to four blasphemy-accused
By Dan Wooding and Sheraz Khurram Khan
01/17/09 PAKISTAN (ANS) — A Pakistan based human rights organization, the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), has given shelter to four Christians, who were implicated in two separate blasphemy cases in Pakistan in 2008.
The first incident took place in the district of Kasur when Razia Bibi, a female Muslim neighbour of Munir and his wife Ruqiya implicated the Christian couple in a blasphemy case after her 10 year old son picked a fight with Ruqia’s 5 year old daughter Muqaddas, while she was on her way back to home along with her brother Ameer, 10. It was alleged that Ameer retaliated after the Muslim child slapped Muqaddas in her face.
The Muslim child’s mother, Razia, was said to have come charging in to Munir’s house while Munir was away. The Muslim lady hurled abuses at Ruqiya besides thrashing her. Ruqiyia’s daughters and sisters-in-law tried to broker reconciliation between the two ladies but it did little to pacify Razia, who was bent upon aggravating the matter.
Discontented with the treatment she had already meted out to the poor Christian lady, Razia again stormed Ruqiya’s house in the company of her husband, brother-in-law and other family members. Razia and her family members, it was alleged, tortured Ruqiyia and even tore her clothes.
Ruqiya then approached local police station who filed case against Razia and her family members. But then it is alleged that the Police joined hands with the culprits and did not take legal action against the Muslim family.
Razia’s husband, Ilyas moved an application for pre-arrest bail but he was arrested in the court when he appeared for the confirmation of the bail.
After getting post-arrest bail, it is alleged that Razia’s husband Ilyas started threatening Ruqiya and her husband that he would involve them in a fake case. He then got registered a fake blasphemy case against Ruqiyia and Munir.
Ruqiya came to know about CLAAS through Pastor Anwar Shehzad (Lahore) whom she approached for legal help and assistance.
Munir has been arrested by police at present he is in the judicial lock district of Kasur while Ruqiya has got the pre arrest bail from the court of law with the help of CLAAS.
CLAAS has provided shelter to the aggrieved family at their rehabilitation centre “APNA-GHAR” (Shelter house) since they have been implicated in the blasphemy case.
In a separate development, a Christian lady, Nargis Bibi and her relative Tariq Mashih, residents of Rawalpindi, were implicated in a false blasphemy case on September 21, 2008.
According to details Nargis worked at Al-Shafa clinic in Rawalpindi as a midwife.
ANS has learnt that one of Nargis Bibi’s Muslim colleagues, Shehnaz was terminated from her job. Nargis had nothing to do with Shehnaz termination but Shehnaz thought that Nargis was responsible for her termination.
Abusing Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, Shehnaz took some papers from the Quran and threw them in the sewerage drain nearby Nargis’s house.
The bag drew attention of people. A huge Muslim mob gathered at the scene as the word about the desecration of Quran spread. Police probed into the incident and found Nargis and her relative Tariq Masih innocent.
Mr. Joseph Francis, National Director of CLAAS, assured Nargis Bibi and her family that CLAAS is with them and they will help them financially and legally whenever and wherever it is required. Mr. Joseph has extended financial support to Nargis Bibi for her maintenance.
CLAAS has shifted the two families Nargis Bibi along with her relative and Tariq Masih along with his family to Lahore. CLAAS has given them shelter in a rented home in Lahore and is providing them financial assistance.