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Pakistani Muslim Friend Allegedly Attempts to Kill His Christian Friend over Blasphemy Row Following a ‘Divine Vision’

ICC Note

Christians in Pakistan often face persecution at the hands of Muslims who accuse them of blasphemy. This case is another indication of how vulnerable Christians are in the country.

11/2/2010 Pakistan (ANS) — A Pakistani Muslim’s bid to allegedly attempt to kill his 14-year-old Christian friend over an order that he claimed to have received through a so-called “divine revelation”, has been revealed to the ASSIST News Service (ANS).

The All Pakistan Minorities’ Alliance (APMA) has told ANS that the bizarre incident took place in the village of Chak in Punjab’s province on the evening of Friday, September 17, 2010.

ANS probed deeply into the alleged blasphemy case to get knowledge about the genesis of this troublesome episode for the Christian family and other Christian villagers who are now in a hideout at an undisclosed location for their personal safety.
Munawar Masih, father of Tasawar Masih, the young Christian who was nearly killed, told ANS that his son, and Muhammad Hammad, who also lived in the village, “were very close friends.”

ANS was apprised by Munawar Masih about a “minor event” which occurred in April 2010 when he said that on the evening of Saturday, April 17, 2010, both the friends were sitting together at the time of Azaan (An Islamic way to call to offer prayers five times a day).
The father went on to say that after the conclusion of Azaan, Muhammad Hammad recited a verse “Sadq-e-ya Rasool Allah” which means “I may have honor to sacrifice my soul for the Prophet Muhammad,” called the Rasool in Urdu, which is recited by all Muslims.

Munawar Masih said that his son “also recited the same verse” because he was “sitting with his Muslim buddy.” Apparently Muhammad Hammad “took it the wrong way” feeling that his friend hadn’t recited it correctly, but took no action at the time.
“After five months, on the night of September 17, Muhammad Hammad came to our house and asked my son [Tasawar Masih] to accompany him for an ‘urgent piece of work,’ and my son went with him,” he said.
When they reached a nearby field, he told ANS that Muhammad Hammad “at once took out a kitchen knife,” and allegedly told his son that “in a divine apparition, the Prophet Muhammad had directed him (Muhammad Hammad) to kill my son.” He went on to say that this had been told to him by his son.

Munawar Masih also quoted his son as saying Muhammad Hammad had added that “in the divine vision” the Prophet Muhammad told him that he “must kill Tasawar Masih otherwise he was not a true Muslim.”
The father, quoting his son, said that after this, Muhammad Hammad who was brandishing a knife, tried to stab him, but Tasawar Masih “tightly gripped the sharp edge of the knife and broke it.”

He added that when he found that he couldn’t use the weapon, he then started shouting that his son has passed “derogatory remarks” about the Prophet Muhammad and “particularly about Azaan.”
ANS has since established through the firsthand account of Munawar Masih that his son then ran away and went underground.
“The news spread like jungle fire in the whole village and soon Muslims tried to attack us, but we managed to escape and my family is hiding at an unknown place,” said the father.

ANS, was apprised by Munawar Masih as well as Tahir Naveed Chaudhary that a resident of Chak village, a militant of the defunct Taliban Islamic Group submitted an application in the office of District Police Officer (DPO) B. A. Nasir who directed his subordinate police officer, DSP Chaudhary Ghulam Murtaza, who was in charge of Saddr Circle Sargodha to “probe impartially into this matter.”

On September 27th, Muhammad Maaz the complainant, and a delegation of eminent of Muslim clerics went to the office of DPO and protested against the alleged “inefficiency” of the Police Station Karrana “for not securing the custody of Tasawar Masih.”
In the Office of DSP Chaudhary, a Muslim delegation demanded “the immediate arrest and public execution” of Tasawar Masih “to set an example to desist others dare pass blasphemous remarks about the prophet Muhammad, Islam or Quran, deemed last Holy divine Book.”

Later, on the request of APMA’s Christian provincial legislator of Punjab, Tahir Naveed Chaudhary, Muhammad Maaz, the plaintiff, and all of the Muslim clerics, Munawar Masih arrived under heavy security at the APMA secretariat in Sargodha, where each every aspect of the troublesome issue for all of Christian villagers of Chak, which I personally witnessed.
Finally, the Muslim clerics and the plaintiff agreed unanimously that in the case, if Munawar Masih, the father of Tasawar Masih, would say under oath that his son was innocent and he has not committed blasphemy they would “acquit him of all blasphemous allegations.”

Again, on behalf of ANS I witnessed this and Chaudhary Tahir Naveed testified that Munawar Masih under vowed that his son was totally innocent and this issue was result of some misconceptions.

“At this, all Muslim clerics as well as the plaintiff, Muhammad Maaz, seemed satisfied,” said Chaudhary, a Christian parliamentarian of Punjab province who added that “they pledged to drop the blasphemy charges against Tasawar Masih.”
Even then they did not guarantee the safety of the accused and his family, saying that although they had forgiven him and dropped the charges, they could not assure that their might be other Muslim villager might attack or hurt them.
Because of the danger to his life, Tasawar Masih is still in hiding at the time of writing this story.