The Sajid Masih Incident: Contempt of Humanity

February 27, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan

AP photo



Imad Zafar


A few days ago an angry mob gathered in Shahdarah, Lahore and tried to burn the houses of Christians living there. A young Christian boy, Salamat Masih, was arrested on the allegation that he shared blasphemous content on a Facebook page. The situation became tense and the law enforcement agencies finally arrested the young boy on the charge of blasphemy under Article 295/c of the Pakistan penal code.

After the arrest fanatics from the Tehreek-e-Labaik, an extremist organization led by Molvi Khadim Hussain Rizvi, demanded the arrest of the cousin of the accused. Finally bowing to their pressure the Federal investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Sajid, Salamat’s cousin and took him to the FIA office in Lahore. After a few hours however it was reported that he fell from the 4th floor of the FIA building.

Sajid surprisingly survived the incident however and subsequently issued a video statement from the intensive care unit of the hospital. The statement was horrifying and shocked the entire journalist community. As per Sajid’s statement, the officials from FIA came to his house and asked him to come to the office for investigation regarding his cousin’s involvement in the blasphemous act. After reaching the office, they started torturing and abusing him. He was then asked to rape his cousin Salamat Masih. Sajid pleaded that Salamat was his brother and he could not have sex with him, but he was again beaten and asked to rape his cousin. Sajid in despair ran and jumped out of the window of the fourth floor, resulting in critical injuries to his head.


This inhumane act as usual was ignored in the mainstream media and, upto the time of writing, no action has been taken against the accused FIA officials. In fact the majority of the population in our country have not even bothered to show concern on the issue. A person accused in a contempt of religion allegation, along with his entire family, is considered to be treated inhumanely and the majority think that whatever inhumane or vicious acts of violence taken against them are justified. Such is the state of the fear from the fanatics that you will not find many intellectuals or journalists raising or writing on this issue.

The story of Sajid actually shows the real dark face of our society and our exploitative and unjust social order; a social order that exploits minorities and marginalized sections of society and continues to deny the basic fundamental rights of living peacefully. This video statement is actually a slap on the hypocritical values and morals of our entire social system. Such incidents are not limited to the minorities however, but anyone who dares to differ from the interpretations of belief by the faith mafia is deemed a blashphemer. Mashal Khan’s lynching is a recent example in this regard where he was killed just for his progressive thoughts and to settle personal scores in the name of protecting religion.

The other sad fact is the attitude of the law enforcement agencies. Even the bloggers and social media activists who were kidnapped by the law enforcement agencies last year, after their release stated they were sodomized during their illegal detention. This is actually common practice in Pakistan and once you are accused of an offence and are in the custody of powerful law enforcement agencies, it is mandatory that you will be raped. The reason behind this is that our intelligence and law agencies think it is the best psychological and physical torture to teach a lesson to the dissidents. One wonders while doing this inhumane act where the religious teachings and so called moral values vanish all of a sudden.


As far as Salamat Masih is concerned, there is no hope left for him as he is the main person accused in the case. Traditionally when you are accused of blasphemy it is almost impossible to get bail. If one is lucky enough to get bail or a clean chit from the court, even then the fanatics do not spare the accused. For Sajid if he survives, the whole investigative system will be working against him as he has levelled very serious allegations against the law enforcement agency.

He has in fact already been charged under the allegation of suicide and trying to run from the law enforcement agency. Already being the cousin of the accused, and also a suspect of blasphemy, it will not be easy for him to return back to normal life. In fact a normal life for both of them is finished, either they will be charged and convicted or a fanatic will kill them in the name of protecting religion and holy personalities.

While the world is busy discovering how to make life more easy for humanity, we in Pakistan are busy day and night discovering new ways of making life difficult for fellow human beings in our own society, and after doing this we still wonder why the world thinks of us as a terrorist state and nation. It is the height of hypocrisy that while settling abroad in twestern countries, we demand equal rights and freedom of expression. We criticize Donald Trump for being unjust to Muslims and Pakistanis and proudly usurp the rights of minorities in our own country. In fact not the minorities, but any dissident voice that actually does not buy our religious interpretation or agree with our set of beliefs is accused of contempt or blasphemy.

The mindset of not listening to criticism and the belief that we are superior to all others because of our belief is actually the main cause of atrocities and injustice prevailing in society in the name of and protecting religion. Sadly we are not able to understand a simple point that a truth needs no protection and no guardians to prevail. Reality can neither be changed by the propaganda and the use of force nor can it be destroyed by using the same.

Killing people in the name of protecting religion and holy personalities while expecting the rest of the world, who have different beliefs and religions, to treat us equally, is not only our hypocrisy it also shows our ignorance towards understanding basic human values. The silence on these brutal incidents will only further damage the social fabric of our society as extremists will take this silence as approval for their inhumane acts.

The Supreme Court needs to step in and must take a suo motu notice of this incident. Sajid and Salamat Masih both deserve justice and both need protection from the insane elements of society. This story of Sajid is actually a contempt of humanity and the culprits must be punished in order to restore sanity in society.





Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar is a journalist based in Lahore. He is a regular Columnist/Commentator in newspapers. He is associated with TV channels, radio, newspapers, news agencies, political, policies and media related think tanks.

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