Gojra City police on Wednesday registered a blasphemy case on a directive from an additional district and sessions judge against a man already in police custody in the matter.
A protest demonstration was held a week ago by Anjuman Faroogh Darood-o-Salam against the police for not entertaining their complaint against the suspect, Sajjad Masih, accused of sending blasphemous text messages to AFDS president Rana Muhammad Tariq and several other clerics.
Tariq pleaded that while an FIR had already been registered in the matter on SHO Muhammad Sarfraz’s complaint, he suspected the police would withdraw the case and release Sajjad without prosecution. He said police should be directed to register a case on his complaint.
FIRs have been registered in the matter under Sections 295-C (Use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet) and 295-B (Defiling of Holy Quran) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 25-D of the Telegraph Act.
Tariq and other clerics had been protesting for four months over some blasphemous text messages they had received from unidentified number. A number of clerics and prayer leaders had received messages blaspheming against the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Before moving court, they had filed a complaint for the registration of a case against the sender of the messages. It was turned down by the police on grounds that the suspect had already been arrested and a case registered against them.
Meanwhile, Sajjad has been confined at district jail on judicial remand since December 30, 2011. He was arrested by Gojra City police on December 18 after Alina* Masih, 18, his ex-fiancé, and her family accused him of sending the blasphemous messages from the number registered in her name.
The girl and her family were held by police after they traced the SIM card to the girl, a resident of a Christian locality in Gojra. SHO Sarfaraz said they had sought assistance from officials of intelligence agencies to trace the number. The girl’s family complained that they were held at the police station for over a month from November 7 till Sajjad’s arrest on December 18. The police denied this charge. They said the family was only called to the police station for questioning.
SHO Sarfraz told The Express Tribune that Sajjad had admitted to having sent the messages from a number he had obtained in the girl’s name. “He (Sajjad) said he wanted to implicate the woman in a blasphemy case to avenge her for breaking engagement with him,” the SHO said.
“He said the girl had left him to get married to a family member who was settled in the United Kingdom,” he added.
The suspect said he had used a photocopy of the girl’s computerised identity card (CNIC) she had left at his house to obtain the subscriber identity module (SIM) card, which he later used to send blasphemous messages to several clerics and prayer leaders.
Two Christians were set on fire during riots in the area in August 2009. Dozens of Christian families were forced to leave their homes and flee Gojra. Their houses and churches were also burned by rioters.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2012.