Human rights activists have demanded an enquiry into the alleged suicide of a young Christian man who was in jail on charges of blasphemy.
The Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC), which includes eminent human rights activists such as Asma Jehangir and I.A Rehman, said the recent death of Robert Fanish Masih in Silakot District Jail raised suspicions that it was not suicide as witnesses had seen torture marks on his body.
Mr. Masih was charged with defiling of the Koran. The JAC said there was “strong suspicion of the involvement of the jail officials in his suspected murder”.
It expressed “grave concern” over increasing incidents of violence against religious minorities, especially Christians, in recent months and at the apparent collusion of “some officials of the police and prisons with fanatics and extremists in perpetrating crimes against members of religious minorities”.
The JAC said Mr. Masih’s father has lodged a formal complaint with the police to register a case of murder against the jail officials including the superintendent but an FIR was yet to be registered.
It asked for a transparent enquiry into Mr. Masih’s death and if it turned out be murder, urged the government to punish the guilty. It also demanded action against police officials for not preventing the recent killings of Muslims at Gojra.
The JAC also reiterated its demand that the government immediately repeal all laws “being abused to victimise and exploit citizens, including religious minorities, in the name of religion, particularly on allegations of blasphemy or defiling of religious scriptures”.