SSGC issues suspension letter for mother of boy accused of blasphemy

Published: October 13, 2012
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A file photo from Wednesday when a mob from the SSGC residential colony dragged out furniture from Ryan's house and set it on fire. PHOTO: FILE

A file photo from Wednesday when a mob from the SSGC residential colony dragged out furniture from Ryan's house and set it on fire. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: 

On Wednesday, as police were registering an FIR for blasphemy against a teenage Christian boy, the staff at Sui Southern Gas Company were busy working on suspension orders for his mother who worked for them.

Rubina Byran, who worked as a superintendent at the SSGC’s store department was issued a suspension letter soon after her son, 16-year-old boy Ryan Stanten, was accused of sending a blasphemous text message.

Proper investigations have yet to kick off but Ryan and his family have gone into hiding, fearing for their lives. SSGC dispatched the letter to their home but no one was inside to receive it. The company has also issued a show-cause notice for Rubina, said an SSGC official who did not want to be named. But he refused to specify what exactly Rubina has been asked to show cause for or explain. It is not clear if the show-cause notice is related to the charges against her son.

Ryan has been charged under the blasphemy law or Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, for sending blasphemous text messages to his friends and residents living in the SSGC staff colony off University Road. On Friday, security guards inside the neat but well-guarded colony would not let any outside go near Ryan’s house or meet his friends or neighbors. The cleric of the colony’s mosque, Maulvi Ghulam Qadir, to whom the matter was initially referred, was not available for comment. His subordinates said he had left the area.

SSGC employee Khurshid Alam, who filed the case with the police and claimed to be one of the recipients of the messages, made several excuses to avoid being interviewed.

The only person from the colony willing to be interviewed was Altaf Abbasi, a labor union representative, who was present in his office near the security room. He said that he had not seen the text messages himself but had heard from people that the cleric had seen them. “The cleric held talks with the boy’s family on Tuesday night when the text messages had circulated,” he told The Express Tribune on Friday. “But we did not see the text messages.” No one from his colleagues knew what the conversation was about because that very night, Rubina, her two children and physically challenged husband left their home.

The next day, protestors loaded a Suzuki van with furniture and electric appliances from Rubina’s house after breaking in, and set them on fire on the main road outside the staff colony. None of them were booked for the violence. Police at the Mobina police station where the case was lodged said, “How can we arrest a mob for they are the ones who are among the complainants.”

For every vehicle carrying or taking away goods from the staff colony, a gate pass is issued at the entrance. But for this Suzuki pickup, which transported furniture and appliances from Rubina’s house to the main road before they were burnt, no such record was found in the security guards’ register. “Ask the management why wasn’t a gate pass made for this vehicle,” said Barkat Ali, a guard.

Labour rep Abbasi said that the SSGC management was making sure that the police arrests the accused, no matter where he is in Pakistan. On the other hand, Christian activists told The Express Tribune that Ryan is safe. They said that he was innocent and the messages were sent from his phone by his friends. “His friends had taken away his cell phone and they sent messages. Ryan had no idea who the messages were sent to and what kind of messages they were.” Mobina Town Investigation Officer Maula Buksh said that the police has requested the FIA to put Ryan and his family’s names on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country. The police said that they believed he sent the messages “deliberately” so that he and his family could “seek asylum in some other country”.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Abdul Basit
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:59AM

    This is outrageous!! Isn’t there anybody in this world who’ll help this family out? First their house is burnt,now the govt. company is taking away their financial support.What sort of society is this? it’s not that the neighbours burnt down the house,but now the company is taking away the financial lifeline of this family.And this is a Government company.The government of pakistan is responsible for what is being done to this family.

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  • Bilal
    Oct 13, 2012 - 12:08PM

    Have these ppl no shame? The government itself is going after its non-muslim population.SSGC is under the control of the democratically elected government of Pakistan,what is the government doing? instead of trying to help out the persecuted family,the government is actively engaged in the financial strangulation of these people.
    The Government of Pakistan is supposed to be the representative of the entire 100% of Pakistan,not just the Muslim 97%.

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  • Maher
    Oct 13, 2012 - 12:10PM

    Crap!

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  • Irfan
    Oct 13, 2012 - 12:27PM

    There we go again, dont know when this craziness would end.

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  • Raza Khan
    Oct 13, 2012 - 12:45PM

    Why a poor & innocent lady being punished? Please take her back since she lost all her belongings, house, etc. Have some mercy on her.

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  • Omer
    Oct 13, 2012 - 12:48PM

    why only the poor in this country

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  • Muhammad Rizwan Ali
    Oct 13, 2012 - 1:16PM

    Still this is not proved, that the boy really, deliberately did that act.
    Why her mother was sacked, by Government Organizaqtion, who did this, any body can justify,what is her fault,Are we really living in Jungle.

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  • FP
    Oct 13, 2012 - 1:36PM

    For SSGC being mother of an accused is a crime.

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  • Javed
    Oct 13, 2012 - 2:15PM

    A lot of people have commented in this paper that the Malala incidence will help change our attitudes and resistance to extremism will grow. Sadly a vast majority subscribes to such extremist views in our country albeit covertly which is the main source for the strength of all the radical organisations.

    When incidences like Malala happen we get very emotional, show great solidarity with the innocent victims, wash away our collective guilt and move on to do more of the same. We have sunk too far to revert back. Sad but true!!

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  • whab
    Oct 13, 2012 - 2:23PM

    innocent until proved guilty.. that law applies to hafiz saeed, all terrorists but ot those accused of blasphemy>>??

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  • TheChimera
    Oct 13, 2012 - 2:41PM

    Another glowing example of peace and tolerance of the perfect faith!

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  • Mj
    Oct 13, 2012 - 4:29PM

    I am ashamed and appalled that I have to share my country with such intolerant and barbaric ‘humans’.Recommend

  • Musalmanistan
    Oct 13, 2012 - 4:57PM

    So after a 14 year old, a stupid youtube video, a bold statement, a visiting card and a mentally challenged person our Islam is threatened by a text message? I don’t wanna live in this country anymore.

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  • Jibran
    Oct 13, 2012 - 6:12PM

    Our Crore Patti CJ will never take notice of these atrocities. I wonder how he justifies that salary with such an abysmal performance. In his case, everyone was jumping that father is not responsible for the actions of a son. How is this different here. At the same time, this doesn’t mean that the minor boy is guilty. And finally, guilty of what? Blasphemy? Give us a break!

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  • AJ
    Oct 13, 2012 - 8:02PM

    Geranged system, where intolerance is rewarded…..dispecable act…need o go after this degenerated mind set….

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  • qzj00
    Oct 13, 2012 - 8:28PM

    I wonder if alleged blasphemy was not in the equation, will an attack on a house by a mob be just written-off as how can we arrest the mobs . . .!

    Anyone who thinks that the family is being persecuted because the persecutors have been blinded by their love of Allah and/or his Prophet (pbuh); think twice . . . because what you are thinking is blasphemy! The family is being persecuted simply because, despite being a Muslim, deep down we are all wild animals. We have learned nothing from being a Muslim and all we need is any silly excuse to show our true colours either by actively committing an atrocity or by staying silent and finding excuses when an atrocity is being committed!

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  • Raj - USA
    Oct 13, 2012 - 9:09PM

    @whab:
    Does not matter if these Christians are guilty or not. Justice has been served. Their house burnt down, they are jobless now and have no income are hiding for their safety. They are also on Exit Control List !!!!!!!

    Who cares about Malala. Even IK and everyone shall hold rallies and protests for Afia Siddiqi but not for Malala.

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  • Hello1
    Oct 13, 2012 - 9:35PM

    With the present lot at the top what can you expect in Alice in Wonderland type of country?

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Oct 14, 2012 - 2:28AM

    Another prime example of guilty by association. Mother is associated with the guilty party by blood hence charged.

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  • DevilHunterX
    Oct 14, 2012 - 4:29AM

    According to these so called Clerics, Islam is weak. Shame on them.

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  • JSM
    Oct 14, 2012 - 9:23AM

    Such events shout and say that the Land of Pure shall self-destruct.

    Sensibe Pakistanis! Please wake up before it is too late.

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  • Straight-shooter
    Oct 16, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Even, IF Ryan has committed a crime, FIA is so smart that they are putting entire family’s name on the Exit Control List. Wah ray Pakistan, tera insaf aur teray bureaucrats/officers.

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