Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Initial Report on Badami Bagh


Sawan Masih Behind Bars

I have been following that depravity of Pakistan Muslims through the reporting of Shamim Masih concerning the religious persecution of Christians (HERE and HERE). In this recent case it involves yet another Blasphemy Law accusation as a means of manipulating the law for selfish Muslim reasons of vengeance and/or greed. A dispute between drinking buddies – one a Christian and another is a Muslim – led to the charge of blaspheming Mohammed and evolved to the pillaging of an entire Christian community by thousands of Muslims.

The drinking buddies were the Christian Sawan Masih and the Muslim Shahid Imran. I am guessing Sawan is not a holiness Pentecostal so drinking is acceptable at least in moderation (yeah right, I think I read Sawan owned the drinking establishment) and Shahid is specifically prohibited by Islamic Sharia to drink alcohol. I have to wonder the Islamic Clerics did not condemn Shahid for drinking and perhaps inciting blasphemous language that ensues from a drunken argument, right?

Anyway, here is the best report I have read so far on Sawan Masih and the pillaging violence executed on the Christian community Joseph Colony.

JRH 3/12/13
Initial Report on Badami Bagh

By Shamim Masih
Sent: 3/11/2013 10:28 AM

I am really sad to share about an inimical incident of inhuman violence against Christians in Pakistan. I am speechless to share with you the story of inhuman violence. Anyhow I am sending you the initial report of Carnage of Joseph Colony:

Initial Report on Joseph Colony Massacre, Badami Bagh, Lahore:

Basic Information;

On March 08, 2013 around at 06:00 hours (PST), I was informed about an unpleasant alleged incident of blasphemy in the Christian vicinity of Joseph Colony, near General Bus Stand which is North of Lahore-Punjab, Pakistan. I was also informed about the registration of Blasphemy case FIR offence under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) registered against a Christian. Keeping in view the sensitivity of the blasphemy incident the British Pakistani Christian Association sent its representative Shamim to Lahore for fact-finding, so he went there immediately and visited the place of the occurrence and noted down the following facts:

Background alleged accused of Blasphemy:

The alleged accused was identified as Sawan Masih used to be called Boodi, aged 35 son of Chaman Masih and resident of Joseph Colony; Noor Road; Badami Bagh, Lahore. He is a Sweeper (sanitary worker) by profession and is a father of three children. Before the alleged incident of blasphemy he was residing with his parents in a joint family system. His house is located at the front row of the vicinity of Joseph Colony and he was habitual drinker.

Sawan and the complainant Shahid Imran (barber by profession) were cordial with each other and their friendship was known to everyone in the locality. They were good friends for the last 8 years and both, together drinkers.

Background blasphemy incident:

On March 05, 2013 (Tuesday) around at 07:00 PM both Sawan Masih and Shahid Imran were drinking and all of sudden they started quarreling with each other and a scuffle took place between them on the trivial matter. When the neighboring Christians noticed their brawl and exchange of abusive language, they intervened and for the time being the uncertain quarrel was arbitrated by the fellow residents. Shahid Imran took grudge in his heart and became annoyed with Sawan Masih. The complainant Shahid Imran also felt ashamed that a Christian he insulted him and he threatened Sawan with dire consequences. The complainant Shahid Imran went to teach a lesson to Sawan Masih and in this connection he cunningly made a plan with Shafiq Ahmed to implicate Sawan Masih in the false case of blasphemy. Later Shafiq Ahmed and Shahid Imran informed the cleric of the area mosque Qari Saifullaha about the false & forged incident of blasphemy.

The first attack:

On March 08, 2013 (Friday) around at 04:00 PM the cleric announced through the loudspeakers of the mosque. The cleric alleged that the accused Sawan Masih has committed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad.  Following the broadcast, thousands of Muslims residents gathered and marched towards Joseph Colony chanting slogans and started throwing stones at the houses of Christians. Thousands protestors demanded immediate arrest of Sawan Masih and also attacked on the houses of Christians. The angry protesters also started looting and crushing the households of Christians. In the meanwhile the police reached the spot and the protesters escaped from the place of occurrence. The attack resulted in so many losses including the breakdown of a snooker table [As an American I was clueless about snooker tables. According to Wikipedia the sport of snooker table is similar to billiards and is a highly regarded sport in former British colonies of which Pakistan was once a part] and the burning and crushing of households etc. Secondly, the police warned the Christians to vacate their houses immediately. (This shows that the administration was aware of it [rapacious pillaging]). The innocent Christians including women and Children immediately evacuated their houses wearing single cloths, leavening behind their houses & possessions. However, many of the Christians were beaten badly. The vehicle of a local bishop Akram Gill was damaged inhumanly.

Registration of Blasphemy case FIR:

Later, the complainant filed an application and registered a blasphemy case FIR No. 112/13 offence 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) registered against Sawan Masih at the Police Station, Badami Bagh, Lahore. Shamim found that the alleged accused of blasphemy Sawan Masih was hiding himself from the violent attack whereas the police arrested his father Chaman Masih. The father was badly beaten by the police. His father totally denied the allegations and later released. Finally, the alleged accused of blasphemy Sawan Masih was handed over to the police.

The second attack:

On March 09, 2013 near about 09:30 a fully charged-up mob of almost 4,000 religious zealots gathered around Joseph Colony, led by Shafiq Ahmed, who was in search of the accused Sawan Masih. The heavy contingent of police was deployed near the colony and later, the mob in the presence of the police entered in the colony and started looting and above 200 hundred houses ravaged with fires. Two Churches along with a Chapel were vandalized and approximately 500 hundred Bibles were burnt, the furniture and other belonging of the school was also burnt. The Christian houses, eight shops, many motorcycles, auto rickshaws, electricity meters, gas meters, iron rods used in the roofs were melted down. On the floor, furniture, trunks, crockery and many more items were burnt totally.

The episode of unspeakable violence in the name of religion [Islamic religion that is] began at 09:30 in the morning and did not conclude till the afternoon. An interesting point was that the large numbers of police were present on the spot and did not avert the angry protesters from further damage. The protesters executed this exercise freely and without any fears for five hours and the police did not intervene nor stopped the violent mob. Some Christian youths saved themselves in the nick of time as they fled from the scene.

Whereas the police ensured us that unless the alleged accused is arrested - making clear to the Christian leadership - that the police will not be able to rescue the Christians. Despite all this, the protesters continued to claim that they would not let the Christian families return until Sawan’s arrest. It was clearly shown that the police failed to inform the protesters about Sawan’s arrest. And the police failed to tell the Muslims about the registration of a blasphemy case FIR against Sawan Masih.

I headed the fact-finding along with a few other people; Mr. Sardar Mushtaq Gill (Social Mobilizer), Mr. Yasoob Bhatti, a social rights activist.

Urgent needs

At present the victims immediately need food, clothing, crockery, beddings, clean water, tea, biscuits and medicines etc.

The Christians in Pakistan staged peaceful protest demonstration throughout Pakistan and at some places the police unjustly stopped the protesters and the clash resulted between police and the Christian protesters.

I am sharing this initial report and highlight the significant section of the incident and assuring you that within a few days I will be able to share the full report.

If you need further clarification please let me know.

We gravely need your prayers and support.
Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih
Edited by John R. Houk
Brackets indicate an editor addition for clarity that is not a part of the original email.

© Shamim Masih

Shamim Masih
Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 
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Intermediary Bank :                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
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