Report on Gujrat Blasphemy Case
A Christian woman named Sonia bibi was held accused of Blasphemy in the city Gujrat about 130kms away from Lahore. It was alleged that Sonia Bibi used the sacred panaflexes as a floor Matt and have committed a serious Blasphemy, however there was an apprehension that on Friday the Muslim community will hold a protest and will burn the houses of Christians in Christian town Kalupura , where an estimated number of Christian houses residing is about 350-400. The tension arose when one cleric Zaheer-ud-din who belonged to Masjid (Mosque) Gulzar-e-Habib announced a protest against Sonia and all Christians and gathered abut 120-150 people (men and women) from the local community and went to the house of Sonia bibi and raised slogans against Christians in front of the Christian houses. The family of Sonia however called police for help and the matter was controlled for the time being by the police on May 16th Evening 2016.
The Voice received a call for help from a source of TVS in Gujrat, where there was an apprehension of registration of a Blasphemy case against Sonia Bibi d/o Barkat Masih r/o KaluMohallahGujrat on 17-05-16. The Voice team contacted some locals and reached Gujrat at about 8:00pm in the night. The Voice team was received by the family of Sonia Bibi who were depressed and scared due to the allegation as they were aware of the circumstances. There was a gathering of all the family members of Sonia who expressed their gratitude to the Voice team upon reaching their and showed them willingness to trust them and help them.
Fact finding of the Voice team:
The voice met a number of people in the neighborhood as well as visited the neighborhood where the Christian families are residing. The area contains houses of Muslims and Christians side by side and adjacent to each other. There is no such partition of neighborhoods between Muslim and Christian families.
Shoukat Gill the brother of Sonia told the Voice team that they are living in this locality from last 35 years. Since that time till two days ago there is not even a single matter arose between the communities. Even today there is no matter, as those pana flexes does not contain any blasphemous material on them, they are simply the flexes of an Election Campaign and contains only the pictures of political candidates, and they also include the candidates from our Christian community. Our children have brought those flexes from the streets when they were fallen on the street, and my younger sister Sonia just stitched them and made the floor matt so that the children of the house can sit on the floor to eat the food comfortably. I have no idea how this allegation came out and accused my younger sister as blasphemer. However, we are in a process of negotiation and dialogue and we will try to make them believe us.
Sonia Bibi the accused of Blasphemy stated that those flexes were only portraying the election campaign but unfortunately an issue is created. Upon asking her what happened exactly she told The Voice team, that PomaMocchin is a Muslim woman and she is living in this community from last ten years, she also comes in our house as the other Muslims come, we have a good relationship between the communities and people normally lives here like a family so there is no restriction of religion among us. On 16th Morning PomaMocchin who is a seamstress and stitches the uniforms of our children came to our house at about 8:00am in the morning and went upstairs to see my sister-in-law Shumaila as Shumaila gave her the clothes of my nieces and nephews to stitch. When she was coming back from the stairs, she peeked into the room of Sonia and started shouting, oh! You have put the pictures of our sacred Maulvis under your feet and it also contains the HOLY names, you have committed blasphemy. Sonia Said, no they are not the HOLY preachers they are just politicians and there are no HOLY names mentioned on the flex, she showed her the flex but Poma was not satisfied. She left the house but came again in the afternoon and asked Sonia to give her the flex. Sonia tried to convince her again but she left the house and started telling people going house to house and poisoning people that Sonia has committed blasphemy. Upon asking Sonia she told that a few years ago the Sister in law of Poma eloped with one of my cousin who used to live in our house, after that incidence we all abandoned my cousin and stopped seeing him. A few days ago my paternal uncle (her cousin’s father) is died and he came to attend his funeral, even after the memorial ceremony he started coming from time to time to our house to which pomaMochin disliked and now she put an allegation upon ME to fullfil her grudge against my family.
Later in the evening a mob of about 100-120 people came out into the streets led by MaulviZaheerud din and they were raising slogans against the Christians and were trying to convince other Muslim people to Join them. Maulvizaheerud din delivered a hate speech trying to instigate the people but Shoukat Gill brother of Sonia came out of home and requested the honorable of the community to give him a chance to speak, they decided to listen.
Shoukat tried to convince them and showed them the flex but Pomamochin said that she saw another flex and its not the same which she saw on the floor. The matter became serious and therefore Shoukat Gill called police for help. Police came promptly and took control of the place. The SHO (Station House officer) of the Police station Lariadda called both parties in the police station and saw the flex himself, and said that it is not a blasphemy, the DPO(District Police officer) Mr. Syed MujtabahGillani, was also present there and he ordered the police to maintain peace in the community and resolve the matter without any nuisance. But Poma was not ready to listen, she said that if our Maulvis don’t take action I will bring out women against this Esayan (Chrisitan woman). But so far the matter is under observation of the police and DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) also gave the clerics a chance to satisfy themselves. Therefore another sitting is expected on 18th May in the evening.
The Voice took all the facts from the people and visited the Police station and met several officers. The Voice discussed all the matter with the police and also expressed our grave concerns about the sensitive situation The police officials ensured The Voice team that the situation is under control of the Police and the matter will be resolved by tomorrow i.e. 18th May.
WHILE SPENDING FEW HOURS IN THE KALU PURA THE VOICE TEAM SENSED A STRANGE TENSION IN THE AIR, AS SOMETHING WAS NOT RIGHT AND THE RESULT IS BELOW.
Today i.e. 18th May 2016 at about 4:00pm The Coordinator TVS Aneeqa Maria received a call from Sonia who was in grave tension she told that the situation is very dangerous here and she is very scared as she knows that Police will arrest her now, while talking to Adv. Aneeqa on phone she heard that police is on her door she ran upstairs and from the second floor of her house she jumped at the back roof top which is about one storey down from her roof and broke her ankle. Adv. Aneeqa called the police immediately to ask what is happening there, but SI (Sub- inspector) Abdur Rehman told her that an application against Sonia Bibi is given by the Muslims that she has committed Blasphemy, he said that we have arranged another meeting between the Muslims and Christians of the Locality and DSP will head the meeting. He further said that situation will be controlled soon. We all know what does this mean. How much Sonia is in danger of being affected by this allegation? Please pray for Sonia whose life is under serious threats. The Voice is committed to help Sonia as we know that she is under the false allegation due to the personal grudge of PomaMochin with Sonia’s family. There is every apprehension that Police will register a case of Blasphemy against Sonia to control the situation as it is always done. The Voice team is in touch with the family and is getting updates of every second. Let’s pray to God to help poor Sonia.