(Agenzia Fides) – “It is a step towards justice. We hope that justice is done in a case that shocked the Christian community in Pakistan”: is how father Waseem Walter, Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Pakistan, commented to Fides the news that an anti-terrorism court has officially indicted 106 people for the murder of a Christian couple, Shahzad and Shama Masih, lynched and burned alive after being accused of blasphemy in November 2014 in the city of Kot Radha Kishan, in Punjab.
They had four children and Shama was pregnant. They were segregated, beaten and burned in a brick oven by a Muslim mob who accused them of having burned pages of the Koran. The incident provoked international outrage.
According to the reconstruction based on some evidence obtained by the court, three religious leaders of local mosques are accused of inciting a mob of about 400 Muslims who lynched the couple, after having found some burned pages of the Koran in the vicinity of their home. The crowd asked Masih and his wife to convert to Islam. The two refused. They were seized, locked up for a night and were then killed by the crowd.
The 106 people charged yesterday were conducted before the court of Lahore. It is believed that 32 other suspects are still at large. The court confirmed the indictment for the murder. Not all pleaded guilty. According to police, in addition to the three imam Mohammad Hussain, Arshad Baloch and Noorul Hassan, also Yousaf Gujjar, the owner of the brick kiln, incited the crowd.
As Fides learns, Christian lawyers believe this process is a key step to show that justice in Pakistan is the same for everyone and does not discriminate when the victims belong to religious minorities. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 22/05/2015)