Excerpted from FRONT PAGE MAG
On 21st July 2013, a crippled Christian man, Shafaqat Emmanuel, and his wife, Shagufta Kausar, were arrested in Gojra District for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages to local Muslims. Police registered the FIR 407/13 under sections 295-B and 295-C. Complainants Muhmmad Hussain and Anwar Mansoor Goraya, Tehsil Bar Association president, alleged they received the blasphemous text messages from the number registered on Shagufta Kausar’s name.
The Station House Officer (SHO) of Gojra City Police Station, Mr. Muhammad Nasir, said:
“The police had verified that the SIM used to send the blasphemous text messages was registered in Shagufta’s name whereas her husband admitted to use her phone to send the messages to Hussain”
However, Shagufta told the police that they had lost the cell phone a month earlier. She denied the charges but police started 3rd degree torture on Shafaqat Masih, who is crippled and physically challenged. They tortured him in front of his wife and four children. Police forced him to confess to the charges or implicate others. Otherwise, they would start torturing his wife Shagufta. Then Shafaqat admitted that he had sent the messages, whereas when our lawyers visited Shafaqat Emmanuel, he denied the charges and stated:
“There is no man who can stand to see his wife being tortured by police, so to save my wife, I confessed.”
He further told the our legal team that:
“When we lost the phone and the SIM, I visited the nearby mobile shop many times to block our mobile SIM.”
According to our investigation, police confirmed Shafaqat’s statement with the mobile shop. The shop owner says that he came twice to block his SIM card.
Even after knowing the facts — that the couple had lost their cell phone and SIM card — police still registered an FIR against the crippled man and his uneducated wife.
Shagufta was working in “St. John Cathedral School” as a maid. She was the only working hand in the family, as Shafaqat Emmanuel was in a wheelchair due to a firearm injury that paralyzed his lower body. The couple has four children – Zain (12), Danish (10), Joshua (8), and Sara (6).
Banner in Gojra: “The Only punishment for the blasphemer; Cut his head from the body. Life in prison is not acceptable… not acceptable… not acceptable.”
Local Cleric Pressure
According to the police authority, Muslim clerics, local lawyers and a Bar official were so furious that they remained in the police station until the FIR was written. Gojra is a religiously volatile city where a week ago a young Christian man was sentenced to life in prison on the same charges. On July 13th, Sajjad Masih, a Christian, was sent to jail for life for the same sort of text messages case. The city police of Gojra – in association with some fundamentalist Muslims – beat Masih. The case was sent to the court of Mian Shahzad Raza, Additional Session Judge Gojra, for trial. However, Muslims failed to prove the charges against Sajjad Masih. Even then the Additional Session Judge Shahzad Raza sentenced him to life in prison.
Earlier in 2009, radical Muslims set the Christian colony ablaze and eight family members were burned alive. The fire was started from the Korian Village, District Toba Tek Singh and hundreds of houses were turned to ashes there. Many families left their houses and shifted to other areas of the country; some fled from Pakistan. Keep Reading