Lahore: The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF) in collaboration with 360 Degrees Creative Solutions organized a protest rally on Nov 12 in order to demand justice for the ill fated couple Shama and Shehzad Masih. The couple was brutally burnt to death in a kiln at Kot Radha Kishan, district Kasur by a violent mob, over an alleged blasphemy accusation.
The protest was held at the Liberty market roundabout in Gulberg Lahore, where a large number of people from all walks of life participated demanding that the killers of Shehzad and Shama be brought to Justice.
The following points in regard to the case need to be taken into consideration:
- We demand that an impartial inquiring be conducted against Sub Inspector Mohammad Ali Chowki In charge Factory area Kot Radha Kishan; that he being present at the scene why did he not take appropriate measures to prevent the ongoing violence.
- According to Sub Inspector Mohammad Ali both the brothers of the victim were present at the time of murder then why were they not made the complainant in the FIR and why has he made himself the complainant.
- According to the FIR, announcements were made from the mosques of Village 59, 60, Village Rosa and village Bheel that a Christian couple had burnt pages of the Koran. The FIR states that the couple was falsely accused, therefore why has action not been taken against those who incited people?
The participants chanted slogans against misuse of the blasphemy laws, injustice, religious intolerance, violence against religious minorities, mob mentality and pressure groups that stand against the right to a fair trial.
The protestors called for protection of religious minorities and an end to persecution in the name of religion.
A Petition was signed by all the participants, who will be presented to the President of Pakistan, The Prime Minister of Pakistan and The Chief Minister Punjab. The petition calls for justice for slain couple, highlights the concerns over the misuse of the blasphemy laws and growing levels of religious intolerance in the country.
The Petition also calls upon the government to implement the 19th June 2014 Supreme Court verdict issued by former Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who through a 32-page judgment issued a set of guidelines for the government promoting religious and social tolerance and the protection of religious minorities in Pakistan.
Michelle Chaudhry President of The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF) stated, “The widespread misuse of the Blasphemy Laws has become a matter of paramount concern, which more than often results in incitement to murder, and this contravenes the Laws of Pakistan and is a punishable offence”.
“Hundreds of innocent people both Muslims and non-Muslims have fallen victim to this Law and a number of Christian villages and homes have been set ablaze over alleged blasphemy accusations. Numerous people have been killed by vigilante mobs. Impunity around violence against religious minorities in Pakistan has to end; Accountability is pivotal in order to prevent such violence in the future,” Chaudhry added.
The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF) is an independent, non-government, non-profit organization, dedicated to the eradication of injustice in society by advocating on behalf of the under-privileged, under represented and marginalized groups within the country.
By Marian Sharaf Joseph