Should the Christian brothers face gallows in Pakistan?


Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

REQUEST: Blitz requests you to send news or information on persecution of Christians around the world. While the so-called mainstream media may maintain silence, this newspaper will not. We shall publish each of the reported incidents.

So-called mainstream media is totally silent on the cases of two Christian brothers, who possibly would get hanged in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for “committing crime” under the infamous blasphemy law. Juts several weeks back, global media had been very loud about the case of another Christian day-laborer Asia Bibi, who had finally been acquitted of the death penalty. But now, there is clear silence, if not intentional lethargy in covering the crucial cases of Qaisar Ayub and his brother Amoon Ayub, who have been sentenced to death in Pakistan on blasphemy charges. Islamic Pakistan is notorious enough in repeatedly using this Sharia law in persecuting its religious minority groups and free thinkers.

The cases of two Christian brothers:

According to information, Qaisar Ayub and Amoon Ayub, from Lahore, were arrested in 2015 after one of the two was accused of posting offensive material against Islam on their website. Qaisar and his wife Amina have three children, whilst his brother, Amoon is married to Huma, a teacher at Lahore Cathedral School.

The allegations surfaced in 2011 when they were accused of “posting disrespectful material” on their website; however, the accused say that their website has been inactive since 2009.

The two brothers have been held in Jhelum District Jail in Pakistan since their arrest. Their case was heard on December 13, 2018 inside the jail instead of any open court. Authorities claimed, the trial had to take place behind the closed doors of the isolated prison “due to security reasons”. Additional Session judge Javed Iqbal Bosal found them guilty and sentenced them to death.

Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlemen (CLAAS), an interdenominational organization dedicated to the victims of religious intolerance, has been representing the accused and now plans to appeal the sentence before the Lahore High Court.

The notorious blasphemy law:

According to the blasphemy laws in Pakistan’s Penal Code, insulting the Prophet Muhammad is a crime punishable by death, while offending the ‎ Koran, Islam’s holy book, incurs life imprisonment.

The laws remain an extremely sensitive issue in ‎the predominantly Muslim nation and they have ‎drawn intense criticism even within the country.

Blasphemy charges tend to trigger violent reaction among Islamic radicals, who interfere with the proper operations of the court system and threaten judges.

Unfortunately, “because of threats from hardliners lower courts pass their responsibility to the higher court and then it takes years to prove the accused innocent,” said CLAAS-UK director Nasir Saeed. “We have seen this in the recent case of Asia Bibi who was similarly convicted by the lower court and it took her years to reach to the Supreme Court to get justice. I am afraid now Qaisir and Amoon will have to wait years to get justice,” Saeed said.

Muslim nations feel delighted in using blasphemy law:

It is not only in Pakistan, but blasphemy law is being practiced in a number of Muslim nations in the world. In 2003, Bangladesh government brought accusations under sedition, treason and blasphemy laws for the “crimes” of confronting radical Islam and jihad; for denouncing antisemitism and Holocaust denial; for defending Israel; and for promoting interfaith harmony. Heavily Islamist inclined Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its political cohort Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JIB) found me “guilty” under the blasphemy law as I have termed Osama Bin Lader and Yaseer Arafat as terrorists. They also found me guilty for exposing madrassas as the breeding grounds of jihadists.

An appeal to the conscious individuals:

Through this article, I am making an appeal to every conscious individual in the world to stand in defence of Christian brothers Qaisar Ayub and Amoon Ayub and save them from being hanged in Pakistan. Please note, these helpless brothers and their family members are passing extreme difficult and horrific days and nights in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz

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