Blasphemy Accused Pakistani Christian Denied Bail Despite Lack Of Evidence
No light at the end of the tunnel for a Pakistani Christian youth, still awaiting justice behind the bars. Patras Masih, was accused of committing blasphemy in February 2018. The lad was 18-years-old when tragedy battered his life. He was accused of sharing a blasphemous photo on Facebook. Enraged adherents of a religious outfit staged protests against Patras, resident of Shahdara Town in Lahore. Hundreds of Christians were left with no other option but to flee in the face to eminent violence and vengeance.
More than four years have passed since the arrest of Patras Masih, court hearings have been delayed. His attorney Ms. Aneeqa Maria of The Voice Society told Morning Star News that: “There’s a clear hatred toward Patras that I fail to comprehend – the courts simply don’t want to hear his case because of the involvement of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan.”
Further revealing the dilemma of Patras Masih, she said that in last four years the Lahore High Court has declined five bail petitions while the Pakistan’s apex court has also declined Patras’ bail petition once. “I was extremely disappointed when the Lahore High Court flatly refused to give bail to Patras last month,” Maria said.
“The judge refused to listen to my argument and outright directed me to approach the Supreme Court. Despite the threats, humiliation and insults we have faced in the courts in Patras’ case, we are still hoping and praying that Patras’ case is taken up by some unprejudiced judge of the Supreme Court.”
Ms. Aneeqa Maria is of firm belief that the courts are being partial and unfair in Patras Masih’s case. The accusations are fabricated and baseless and “nothing but a pack of lies with no evidence whatsoever.”
Detailing the legal procedures involved, she said that despite the fact there has been no substantial proof against Patras Masih, yet the courts are reluctant to grant him bail. Moreover, Section 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code specifies that if a trial has not concluded within two years and the delay is not caused due to the accused, bail may be granted to the accused. “From the beginning of the case, the trial court has shown bias and discrimination towards Patras,” she wined.