By Michael Ireland, Senior Reporter, ASSIST News Service firstname.lastname@example.org
GUJRANWALA, PAKISTAN (ANS, July 28, 2015) – A Pakistani Christian believer has been acquitted and declared innocent of blasphemy charges after the complainant told the Sessions Judge that he was innocent and did not commit the alleged offense.
According to LEAD (Legal Evangelical Association Development) www.leadfamily.blogspot.com, Arif Masih was on July 25, 2015, acquitted and declared innocent of blasphemy charges by the court of Mr. Iftikhar Husain Cheema, Additional and Sessions Judge of Wazirabad, after the complainant of the case, Mr. Khuram Shahzad, told the court Masif was innocent and did not commit any offence.
In an e-mail update on the case, LEAD says that in October 2013, two brothers — Tariq Masih and Arif Masih — had been falsely accused of blasphemy at Thatha Faqir Ullah, a Christian Colony of Wazirabad city, Gujranwala District (FIR — First Informiation Report — Number 533/2013, dated October 29, 2013) under section 295 B PPC was registered at the Waziranbad Police Station Saddar against them.
In the e-mail, received by the ASSIST News Service, LEAD stated: “Our colleague Mr. Nadeem Masih, a Christian lawyer, worked diligently and made agreed the complainant and witnesses with the help of family of the victim to give their statements in the favor of the accused in the court and the complainant gave his statement, which was considered by the court and the accused released.”
LEAD explained that Tariq Masih worked at the cutlery factory and in his spare time used to sell firecrackers to earn extra money. His brother Arif Masih was working on the Pakistan Railway. He is stated to have been innocent. Tariq, the main accused in the case, has relocated to Thailand.
On October 25, 2013, Muzammil Malik bought the firecrackers from Tariq Masih for the wedding of Muhammad Zahid. Some of the firecrackers did not work properly, according to the complaint made by Khurram Shahzad, and when the firecrackers did not crack, he opened them and noticed they were made with pages from the Quran. This was also stated by Tajjamul Butt and Muhammad Waris, witnesses to the case. Tariq Masih relocated to Thailand and Arif Masih was arrested, charged, and acquitted.
Gujranwala is an industrial city in Gujranwala District, Punjab province of Pakistan, and is the seventh-most-populous Pakistani metropolitan area.
LEAD is an advocacy and legal aid organization working in Pakistan fighting for minorities’ rights and defends victims of blasphemy laws. It promotes awareness through its educational projects. The organization is a registered relief, development, advocacy and free legal aid organization dedicated to working with children, families, communities, Churches and different denominations to overcome poverty and injustice. LEAD requests moral and physical support for uplifting the poor and Christian community, see www.leadfamily.blogspot.com.
Photo One: Location of Gujranwala
Photo Two: Michael Ireland
About the writer: Michael Ireland is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as a volunteer Internet Journalist and Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Click http://paper.li/Michael_ASSIST/1410485204 to see a daily digest of Michael’s stories for ANS.
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