Protestant and Catholic churches in Pakistan have come together to start a movement to call on the government to ensure justice for Christian cousins accused of blasphemy, one of whom recently survived a jump from a fourth floor after being told to perform oral sex on his cousin durning interrogation.
More than 200 churches gathered in front of the Punjab Assembly in Lahore on Friday to demand an independent inquiry into the case and a fair trial, according to ucanews.com.
The rally was organized by a new group, Pakistan Christian Action Committee, which was formed a day earlier during a meeting of Christians at the National Council of Churches in Pakistan.
“The committee will function as a permanent ecumenical entity to counter the increasing cases of violence against minority Christians. Peaceful protests will be carried out all over the country until the Christian youths get justice. The ongoing persecution has become a national issue. We are also ready for martyrdom,” said group convenor Pastor Amjat Niamat was quoted as saying.
Patras Masih, 17, and his cousin, Sajid Masih, 24, a sweeper at a school, are the accused in the blasphemy case. The complainants are members of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah and other religious parties. They claimed that Patras had posted a blasphemous photo to a Facebook group.
Last week, Sajid was called by the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province, for interrogation. He was first beaten inside a bathroom at the agency’s cybercrime wing, and then asked to perform oral sex.
“They told us to insult each other by using the word ‘Laanti’ (men under a curse), my frightened young cousin complied under great duress,” Sajid told his lawyer in the hospital where he was admitted after he jumped off the fourth floor. “They asked me to remove my cousin’s trousers and have oral sex with him. I refused outright. I explained that I can’t have oral sex with him because he is my brother, but my pleas made them angry. They then started shouting loudly at both of us. I saw a window in the room and quickly jumped out of it.”
Al Jazeera reported Saturday that Sajid is at an intensive care unit in critical condition. Doctors are waiting for him to stabilize before they do surgeries on his neck, face and legs. Both of his legs are in casts.
“We are all Sajid and Patras Masih. Do not push us to the wall. Sexual harassment by police is both immoral and irreligious. Sajid is a kid and a Pakistani. We demand proper medical treatment for him,” Bishop Azad Marshall of Raiwind said at the protest rally on Saturday.
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Source: Christian Post