Our legal team in Pakistan has helped secure two significant victories for Christians who are being falsely accused by their radical Muslim attackers.
The European Centre for Law and Justice’s (ECLJ) affiliate in Pakistan, Organization for Legal Aid (OLA), is representing a Christian man, Allah Ditta Masih, who was beaten and then shot three times by two Muslim men when he tried to stop them from harassing some Christian women on their way to church on a Sunday.
As we reported before, some Muslim men in a small village in Khanewal, Pakistan, had been harassing Christian women. After Masih, our client, stopped a Muslim man, Abdul Rauf, from loitering in front of the women’s church, Rauf and his brother, Tahir Khan, attacked Masih with clubs and shot him three times, injuring his arm and leg. When our client pressed charges, Rauf and Khan’s uncle, Muhammad Zia Jahangir, who is a lawyer, filed a false case against our Christian client and his family in order to stop them from pursuing the criminal case against Rauf and Khan.
Because Jahangir is an influential lawyer, he was able to pressure the judge with the help of other lawyers and the local bar association, to order that a case be filed against Masih and his family. The judge succumbed to their pressure and ordered filing a case against our clients. We went to the High Court, which overruled the lower court’s order against our clients. However, before we could take the High Court’s order to the police, the police registered a case against our clients. We went back to the High Court and filed a motion to dismiss all charges against our clients for lack of evidence.
Two important and positive developments have taken place since then. First, while our motion to dismiss was pending, our team in Pakistan filed a bail petition on behalf of Masih and his family. Interestingly, before the argument on the bail petition on October 17, 2015, the police investigation found that our clients were innocent. Our attorney argued that, since the police had found our clients innocent, there was no need to further argue for the bail because there was no apprehension of arrest. The court agreed with our attorney.
Second, Rauf, one of the Muslim defendants, also moved for his bail. Our attorneys opposed the bail. The court agreed with our attorney, holding that Rauf was not entitled to a bail because there was sufficient evidence available against him that connected him to the crime. Rauf appealed and the appellate court also rejected his bail.
This is an important victory for our Christian clients in Pakistan. It shows that, even though courts can sometimes be biased or succumb to the pressure of radical Muslims, justice can still be obtained. The police investigation and the judges’ decisions in this case show that not all judges and policemen are biased. Many judges and policemen in Pakistan do impartially investigate and decide cases.
Our team in Pakistan is hopeful that our motion to dismiss the false charges against our clients will be granted and the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
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