LAHORE: Whereabouts of the Model Colony, Walton Road, Christian family accused of blasphemy two weeks ago remain unknown to the police as well as the community elders.
Christian neighbours have told The Express Tribune that the complainant named in the FIR is convinced that the accused family was not guilty of blasphemy.
Joseph Francis, the Centre for Legal Aid and Assistance (CLAAS) director, said that he had used all means at his disposal but had been unable to trace the family.
Francis said that he and some relatives of the accused have visited various places and met several people they were considered likely to be sheltering with but had not received any information on them.
He said that he wasn’t able to understand the family’s reason for disappearing now that the complainant, Muhammad Ibrahim, appeared convinced of their innocence and was apparently willing to testify before the police on their behalf.
Ibrahim said that he has already told the police that to the best of his knowledge the accused had not deliberately done anything that amounted to blasphemy.
He said that the defiling of the Holy Quran did take place, but it was clearly a mistake and the family apparently did not realise this. “I am certain that they are innocent. They should not face charges for an offence they never committed,” he said.
Inspector Haji Abdul Ghafoor, the investigation officer, said that he was unable to trace the family.
He confirmed that the complainant had approached him and suggested that the family was innocent.
“It seems that the family is too scared and does not want to risk coming out of hiding,” he remarked.
He said that the police had detained Jamis Masih, a relative of the accused family who had not been nominated in the FIR, to pressure them into surrendering themselves, “but they did not approach us,” he said.
He said that he had released Jamis last Saturday and asked him to look out for the family and tell them to contact the police so that they may be absolved of the charges.
The Factory Area police on July 6 registered an FIR under Section 295-B of Pakistan Penal Code against the Christian family.
Yousaf Masih and his wife, Bashiran Bibi, were accused of using a plastic sheet which had Quranic verses inscribed on it as a temporary roof for their toilet.
The police registered the FIR when hundreds of protesters gathered outside the police station demanding immediate action against the family.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2010.
More in PakistanHRCP alarmed over action targeting HEC chairman’s family