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Published On: Thu, Aug 9th, 2018

Pakistani Christian Farhan Aziz charged with sending ‘blasphemous’ text in Gujranwala

Pakistani Christian, Farhan Aziz, 25, of Muslim Town, Gujranwala was charged under blasphemy law 295 – C of Pakistan Penal Code and section of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 10 (a) (b) on August 2.

photo Applysense

Farhan is accused of sending blasphemous text messages. He was arrested by the Gujranwala police and sent to jail.

But according to him and other close friends and family members, while the phone used to send blasphemous text messages was registered to him, he had bought that phone and sim card for his girlfriend Tania and was in her possession.

It is claimed that Farhan has been implicated in this case because Tania’s family, including her brother Shamoun, did not want her to see him anymore.

Tania and Farhan wanted to get married but Tania’s family didn’t like the relationship and had her engaged to someone else. Farhan was told to stay away from Tania.

Tania’s family had borrowed some money from Farhan and when he demanded it back, they threatened him and got involved a local Imam – who is a close friend of Shamoun’s to teach him lesson

Image/ United States Agency for International Development

According to Farhan’s family, Shamoun and the Imam made a plan to implicate Farhan with the support of Tania, who told Farhan she was unhappy with her engagement and asked him to buy her a phone to so she could stay in contact with him.

The local Imam and Shamoun knew the sim was registered to Farhan so they used the phone to send blasphemous texts to their friends and family members to implicate Farhan.

The text messages infuriated their Muslim friends and the news spread all over Muslim Town, enraging the local Muslims and members of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, the group who shut down Islamabad for several weeks earlier last year to punish an alleged blasphemer.

According to the local Pastor, Pastor Allah Rakha of Presbyterian Church, Muslim Town, the angry mob was gathered around holding steel rods and petrol gallons to set fire to the Christians’ houses but the police managed to control the situation and Christian families vacated their homes to save their lives.

Despite Farhan’s imprisonment, local Muslims are still demanding for him to be presented to them so they can punish (hang) him themselves.

Shamoun Masih has also been taken into police custody because he is believed to be involved in sending blasphemous texts using the phone.

Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS-UK, said that this is sad that one Christian is involved in accusing another Christian in blasphemy case.

He also said this is not the first case of its kind but there are several examples where innocent people have been accused in the past for sending blasphemous texts using another person’s phone to settle personal scores or take revenge.

Zaffar Bhatti is one victim whose phone was used for this crime without his knowledge and he has been imprisoned in Adiala jail, Rawalpindi for the past several years.

At one stage he was refused legal representation by the local lawyer but CLAAS took the risk and is still representing him in court.

About the Author

- Director CLAAS-UK About CLAAS: Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) is an interdenominational organisation working for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Pakistan. CLAAS works for religious freedom, to stop persecution of Christians in Pakistan because of blasphemy and other discriminatory laws, raise awareness, disseminate information and highlight the plight of Christians on an international level. CLAAS provides free legal aid to victims of religious intolerance in Pakistan, as well as shelter and financial support for the victims and their families.

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