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Rocky and Raja Masih with their lawyer Tahir Bashir. Credit: Facebook/Tahir Bashir
Rocky and Raja Masih.jpg thumb.jpg
Rocky and Raja Masih with their lawyer Tahir Bashir. Credit: Facebook/Tahir Bashir
World News

Court clears Christians accused in blasphemy case

by Tola Mbakwe

A religious freedom watchdog has welcomed the acquittal of two Christians and a Hindu who were previously charged under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

On 1st March, the Anti-Terrorism court in Faisalabad cleared two Christian brothers, Rocky Masih and Raja Masih, of blasphemy charges filed against them on 16 August 2023. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said the accusations had incited a mob attack in Jaranwala, during which over 21 churches and numerous Christian homes were set ablaze. The court determined that the brothers had been framed due to a personal vendetta.

On the same day, Hindu school principal Notan Lal was also acquitted on appeal after receiving a 25-year sentence on 7 February.  Lal was accused of blasphemy by a student in 2019, which led to communal violence in the Ghotki district in Sindh province, including lootings, attacks on a Hindu temple, and the ransacking of Mr Lal's school. However, the Sukkur bench of the Sindh High Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a case against Lal.

CSW’s founder and president, Mervyn Thomas, has urged the government to empower courts to uphold the law and continue to dispense justice for victims of false blasphemy accusations

He said: "Dispensing timely justice not only saves the lives of those falsely accused of blasphemy but builds trust in the judicial system."

Thomas also appealed for protections for lower courts and training for judiciary and police forces in handling blasphemy cases with extra caution.

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