Christian blasphemy suspect arrested from Shahdra ‘falls off’ FIA building

Picture courtesy Pakistan Today
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LAHORE: The case of the Pakistani Christian youth Patras Masih, who had been accused of blasphemy earlier this week, has taken a turn for the worse as his cousin has ‘fallen off’ from the fourth floor of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) building in Lahore on Friday.

According to details, Patras Masih, 18, had been arrested over blasphemy charges by the Shahdra police for allegedly posting blasphemous content on his cousin Sajid Masih’s Facebook wall. The two had been handed over to FIA by the police earlier in the day upon court’s order for interrogation.

However, during the investigation, the FIA claims that Sajid tried to escape the building by jumping off the fourth floor of the building and landed on the roof of the second floor, resulting in severe injuries to his head, neck and legs while loss of blood caused further problem.

Although he is still alive and has received treatment, first at Ganga Ram Hospital and then at General Hospital, Sajid Masih’s condition is still unstable.

Strangely enough, the cybercrime’s unit of the FIA initially refused to accept that Sajid Maish had falled off the fourth floor of the building and then claimed that he had jumped off the building to flee the place.

When contacted by Asher John of Pakistan Today, the investigation officer Sub-Inspector Khalid Saeed expressed complete ignorance on the subject, claiming that Sajid was completely fine at the time he had left the building after the interrogation. He immediately hung up his phone and was not available for a comment after this brief statement despite repeated attempts to reach him.

One of the FIA officials present at the hospital told that it was the first time ever that a suspect had jumped off the building in order to escape the interrogation. However, he rejected the possibility of FIA officers using torture on Sajid Masih, claiming that FIA only dealt with the white-collar crime and thus couldn’t have used torture on the blasphemy victim.

However, rights activist Shaan Taseer has claimed that Sajid had been thrown off the building by the FIA officials. In a Facebook post, Shaan claimed that ‘after calling Patras’s 24 yr old cousin, Sajid in for questioning, the FIA cybercrimes unit has thrown him from the 4th floor of the FIA building at 6.30 pm today’.

Patras Masih’s lawyer Aneeqa Maria Advocate also expressed dissatisfaction over the FIA version, saying that Sajid was being interrogated because the ‘blasphemous post’ that Patras Masih had allegedly shared was on Sajid’s Facebook wall. She termed the FIA claim ‘hard to digest’ while talking to John.

She also told that some 15 members of Tehreek-e-Labbayk Ya Rasool Allah (TYLR), who had primarily taken up the blasphemy case and had registered the complaint with the police earlier in the week, had also attacked Patras Masih and brutalized him at the court as well. Maria’s requests to provide security to the suspect weren’t paid heed to as the FIA officials took Patras Masih to the FIA office, ordering the TYLR activists to arrive there too for the recording of their statements.

A few hours later, Maria was told that Sajid had ‘fallen off’ from the building.

Read more: Blasphemy allegation: 18-y-o Christian youth arrested

Police on Tuesday arrested an 18-year-old Christian youth, Pitras Masih, in Shahadra area of Lahore over allegations of spreading blasphemous material on social media.

As soon as the rumour about the Christian youth sharing blasphemous content broke out, people gathered in large numbers outside his home, chanting slogans against him and demanding his arrest.

According to reports, the Muslim mob was also carrying bottles full of petrol threatening to burn the Christian house if the police failed to arrest the Christian youth. Many Christian families left their houses to save their lives. The mobsters said that the suspect had hurt their religious feelings.

FIR registered against Pitras Masih

The police arrived as soon as they received the information and tried to disperse the crowd. However, announcements from the local mosques continued to help the crowd swell and the protesters started marching towards GT Road. They burned the tires on the way and demanded immediate arrest of the suspect.

Police officials told that the family of the accused admitted that the youth had committed the mistake and also helped the police arrest him. After arresting the young lad, police started investigating the matter.

It is pertinent to mention here that the protests had been led by Tehreek-e-Labbayk Ya Rasool Allah supporters and Shahdra police later registered the case against the Christian Pakistani under Section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code.