Facts behind the brutal killing of couple on false allegation of blasphemy at Kot Radha Kishan, Kasur
Citizens for Democracy joins all those who condemn and protest against the brutal lynching and burning of the bodies of a poor Christian couple by a mob in Chak 59, a village near Kot Radha Kishan in Kasur District southwest of Lahore. Following are facts of the case compiled by the non-government human rights organization Life for All Pakistan.
The victims, Shahzad Masih and his wife Shama belonged to Clarkabad, but had moved to Chak 59 a few years ago and were working for an owner of a brick kiln.
Arshed Javed, the brother of Shahzad Masih has said that while cleaning her quarter, the unlettered Shama had found some old papers used by her late father-in-law that were no longer of any use. She gathered them as trash in order to burn and dispose of them. One of her co-workers at the kiln saw the burning trash and spread the news that Shama had burnt the pages of the Quran. “The news spread and the mob gathered next early morning and attacked my brother and his pregnant wife. The mob killed them, desecrated their bodies and threw them in the kiln.”
“This is a great injustice, my brother and his wife were falsely accused of blasphemy,” Masih told Life for All Pakistan. “The police was informed about the attack, there were five policemen present when the mob was desecrating the bodies, but they stood there and watched as the mob threw their bodies in the kiln. We have taken their 3 children who are in the state of shock due to the incident. We appeal for justice for my brother and his wife.”
The Police later took control of the situation, scattered the mob and increased the security to belatedly control the law and order situation. They registered a case and made over 45 arrests. The Chief Minister Punjab has taken notice of the incident and formed a committee to investigate the matter and arrested the culprits. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has also taken Suo Moto notice of the incident.
“This is tragic, attacking and burning the innocents on the basis of mere accusation is a mockery of the legal system,” said Xavier William, President, Life for All Pakistan, in a statement. “We have witnessed in the past that mobs have taken the law in their own hand, such incidents were not condemned by the religious leaders which has also encouraged this mob to take the law in their hands assuming it their religious duty. If some concrete action had been taken in the past, such barbaric incident could have been averted.
“From a legal standpoint, the perpetrators of this hideous crime, should be apprehended, tried and brought to justice for taking the reign of law into their own hands. These self-appointed enforcers of the law should be made an example of. In Pakistan even being accused of blasphemy is equivalent to the sentence itself, we have witnessed that a mob had burnt a mentally unstable man in Bahawalpur, recently a blasphemy accused was attacked in the jail by a guard.”
The statement also highlighted that these unlawful public executions by vigilantes play with “the sentiments of religious believers, test their patience and antagonize them by desecrating what they cherish above all else.”