Blasphemy victim’s house set on fire twice
Stephen Masih’s house has been set on fire twice in the recent month.
The first incident occurred on 18th October, and the second on the 22nd.
Luckily nobody was at home, so everybody is safe, but household goods have turned to ashes while the building is severely damaged.
Family members who were already in hiding have reported the fires to the police, but they are not taking it seriously. They are scared and in shock, while local Christians are also apprehensive and fearing that they could be targeted and attacked too.
CLAAS’s team is in touch with the family and has visited the house. We have talked to local police officers who have given assurances of cooperation, saying they will investigate this as soon as possible and will find and punish whoever has set the house on fire and tried to spread fear in the local community.
Stephen Masih, who is mentally ill, was charged under the blasphemy law in March this year and since then has been incarcerated in Sialkot Jail. CLAAS is supporting him and his case is under trial in the Session Court Pasrur, Sialkot. Stephen Masih was accused of passing derogatory remarks against the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a case under section 295- C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which has mandatory death penalty was registered against him at Badiana District Sialkot after a complaint from Hafiz Muhammad Mudassar.
After the incident Stephen’s family (mother and sister etc) left their residence and went into hiding to save their lives. Their house was locked and no one ever dared to come visit their house due to security reasons and death threats.
CLAAS was informed about the incident by Stephen’s brother Francis. CLAAS is also in contact with the concerned police officials.
It is sad that Stephen, who needs medical treatment, has been jailed while his family is hiding and in fear about Stephen’s life.