PAKISTAN: Death threats to minorities by the fundamentalist


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-13-2001
ISSUES: Blasphemy Law in Pakistan,

UA-13-2001: A Christian teacher accused of blasphemy law 
PAKISTAN – Death threats to minorities by the fundamentalist 

We have received reliable information from religious group in Pakistan regarding Mr. Parvez Masih, who has been accused of blasphemy and now faced with grave danger. Blasphemy in Pakistan is an ill-defined offense that carries the mandatory death sentence.

Below is the information about Mr. Parvez Masih’s case, followed by suggested action.


Mr. Parvez Masih is a thirty-five year old dedicated Christian teacher in Sialkot District of Pakistan. He was accused of blasphemy under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code by rival Muslims on 1st April 2001 and now faces the threat of a death sentence.

For the past fifteen years, Mr. Parvez Masih has been running a reputable private school, Iqbal Memorial High School, in Chailayke village where there are six hundred Muslim families and twenty Christian families. A year and a half ago, a Muslim by the name of Mohammad Ibrahim opened M.I. Muslim High School in the same area. However, due to the high standards and long-standing reputation of Iqbal Memorial High School, it has attracted more students than M.I. Muslim High. Local sources suggest that Mohammad Ibrahim has been devising malicious schemes to force Parvez Masih into closing down his school. His latest attempt was to lodge a complaint of blasphemy with the local police in Daska Saddar.

According to the Christian Liberation Front Pakistan (CLF) the allegation was based on the testimony of three Muslim students, Wakeel Ahmed, Mohammad Bashir and Mohammad Ramzan (all minors). All were said to have told Mohammad Ibrahim and another Muslim teacher Mohammad Sajjad, a close relative of Mohammad Ibrahim, that Parvez Masih had uttered blasphemous words against the Prophet Mohammad during a lesson some two to three months ago. The case of blasphemy was registered against Parvez Masih without due and proper investigation from the police or the Deputy Commissioner of police of Sialkot.

Mr. Parvez Masih is currently incarcerated pending trial. His situation in jail is far from satisfactory. He is under constant threats from the jail authorities and from Muslim inmates. Currently, the atmosphere in Chailayke village is intense and volatile. The Bar Council of Sialkot has announced that any lawyer taking up the case of Parvez Masih would be killed. Extremist Islamic groups in the area, in particular the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and the Sipah Sihaba, have also declared that those pleading for Parvez Masih and those found helping him would be dealt with severely. The Muslim fundamentalists are also threatening the family of Parvez Masih and the twenty Christians families in the village. An inquiry committee has been formed to investigate the allegations. The committee is comprised of six members, of which none are Christians.


Blasphemy in Pakistan is a cognizable offence, punishable mandatorily by death, but Section 295-C does not even precisely define the crime it is meant to punish. This law has a history of abuse: it is a convenient means to settle personal scores. In this case, it is a disgruntled student Mr. Muhammad Asghar Khan who complained to the fundamentalists. Even those not present at the time of the alleged ‘offence’ can file a complaint – this is the case as regards Dr. Shaikh as a cleric, Maulana Abdur Rafoof, registered the case in Islamabad’s Margalla police station. Despite the severity of punishment, Section 295-C empowers a police officer to arrest, without obtaining a warrant from a judicial magistrate.

The Blasphemy law in Pakistan is a shameful relic of the British Raj’s 1860 Criminal Law. It was modified in 1926 before Pakistan was born, and again as recently as in 1986 and in 1991 when criminal law was Islamicised by the then dictatorship. Now, under the regime of Islamic punishments, the evidence required is ‘at least two Muslim adult male witnesses who are supposed to be truthful persons who abstain from major sins’. It is required at the trial that the presiding officer must be a Muslim. Islamic law of evidence declares that the evidence recorded by minorities and women has a status inferior to that of Muslim men.

In the case of Blasphemy, very often the accused is murdered either in police custody or even in the courtroom itself by bloodthirsty zealots. So few cases are even brought to fruition. General Pervez Musharraf’s recent attempts to improve the law have been met with vehement opposition from the clerics, and he immediately climbed down, in deference to the Islamic fundamentalists. The law remains as barbaric as it was. And so is the mob.


We request you to write to the Chief Executive of Pakistan expressing your concern regarding this matter. Copies of your letter should be sent to the UN Special Rapporteur listed.




To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear General Musharraf,

I am deeply concerned to hear that Mr. Parvez Mashih has been accused of blasphemy under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code and now faced threat of a death sentence.

First of all, I urge you to guarantee his safety and the fair investigation. Also I urge you to guarantee the safety of members of the Christian Liberation Front Pakistan (CLF) and twenty Christian families, who has been threatened by the Muslim fundamentalists.

In my view, blasphemy law in Pakistan is discriminatory and unjust. Even was this law justified, to access a proper lawyer’s help and fair investigation is a fundamental right for human being. And the Sections of 295-B and 295-C of the Criminal Code should be repealed as soon as possible and meanwhile, I urge you to take steps to prevent their malicious and frivolous abuse.

Yours sincerely, 


General Pervez Musharraf
Chief Executive of Pakistan
Islamic of Republic of Pakistan
Prime Minister House, Islamabad, 
FAX: +92 051 920-1893/1835 or 4632 
Salutation: Dear General Musharraf


Ms. Hina Jilani 
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders
c/o OHCHR-UNOG, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland 
Fax: 41 22 917 9006

Also send copy to

*** Please send a copy of your letter to AHRC Urgent Appeals: 
Fax: +(852) – 26986367

Please contact the Urgent Appeals coordinator if you require more information or wish to report human rights violations. 
AHRC Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission
Unit D, 7th Floor, Mongkok Commercial Centre,
16 – 16B Argyle Street, Kowloon, HONGKONG 
Tel: +(852) – 2698-6339 
Fax: +(852) – 2698-6367

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-13-2001
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Blasphemy Law in Pakistan,