Pak-Christian man whose wife and only son were shot dead for being ritually impure now seeks justice via gruelling joint enterprise trial


London: (By Hannah Chowdhry and JulietChowdhry) A dispute over the right for sewage water that that passed by the home of a Christian family to travel past a Muslim shrine, resulted in the killing of a young Christian man and his mother.  Read more (herewage gully that passes the home of Mr Masih and passed by a Muslim shrine.

In October 2021 almost a year after the murder of Usman Masih RIP (25 yrs) and Yasmeen Bibi RIP (55 yrs), the killer Hasan Shakoor Butt was sentenced to death.

His mother Ishrat Bibi however, was shown leniency for her age.  This despite the fact that she had begun the argument and called for her son to murder Usman and Yasmeen.  Read more (here)

After the murder of Usman and Yasmeen, British Asian Christian Association, were the only charity to offer any help.  We supported Shabir with a solicitor and secured two death sentences for the murderer Hasan Butt, at Wazirabad Court on 20th October 2021.  Read more (here).

Judge Hassan Abbas Syed presided over the court and sentenced Mr Hassan Butt to death by hanging. He is now safely imprisoned at Gujranwala Jail.

Shabir Masih (57 yrs) the widower of Yasmeen is now seeking a review of the decision to exonerate Ishrat Bibi, as he comes to terms with having lost his whole family in one devastating day.

With the help of BACA Mr Masih has filed an application for a revision of the judgement in High Court, Lahore, seeking that Ishrat also be convicted for guilt by association in the murder under joint enterprise laws. As a minimum  Mr Masih is seeking a conviction for Ishrat Bibi for the violence towards Yasmin. An application has also been made to include Hassan’s cousin Khizer Hayat in a trial hearing, for providing the gun.  Read more (here).

“It pains me to see two culprits escaping justice despite murdering my family.

“I will not rest till they also feel the weight of the justice system.”

Since then one the ex-beneficiaries of our assistance from the UK, has been supporting Shabir with a regular monthly donation to help him survive.  The support ensures Shabir Masih who depended on his deceased son Usman’s income, has been able to make ends meet somewhat.

Mr Masih’s troubles however have not ceased. In a sickening act of intimidation, father of the murderer Mr Shakoor Butt, has been threatening Mr Masih with death and other consequences, should he not accept a compromise bribe under Pakistan’s notorious Qisas and Diyat laws.

Pakistan still maintains its sordid Sharia past and continues with the notorious Qisas and Diyat laws. These laws enacted under Nawaz Sharif’s reign as leader of the Muslim-league party, allow murderers and rapists to escape justice by paying a comprise payment. Read more (here).

When Mr Masih filed an application at Ahmad Nagar Police Station against the threats from Shakoor Butt, the Station House Officer (SHO) Irfan Bhinder initially interviewed  Shakoor Butt. However Shakoor Butt then filed a counter application accusing Mr. Masih of having a pistol and threatening to kill him. Eventually, police officers warned Shakoor Butt to stay away from Mr. Masih.

Mr Masih will soon have to resume trips to court once hearings begin in the retrial of Itrat Bibi and Khizer Hayat.  Mr Maish has asked us o help with costs associated with travel to courts and for a legal advisor. You can donate towards these costs (here).

In the meanwhile, Shakoor Butt has continued his threats through a number of cohorts who frequently offered compromise bribes. Mr Masih, is adamant he will not accept any bribe payment and is still traumatized by the violent murder of his family.  In our last post he said:

“Many people have approached me to settle this case with some money and forget the deaths of my wife and son.

“That they think I would be swayed is just disgusting.

“Hassan killed my son and wife before my eyes and now I suffer constant insomnia.

“In my dreams their suffering is replayed over and over again.

“I pray for the day I can join them.”

n a sleazy and pernicious attempt to thwart justice, Shakoor Butt has unlawfully occupied land belonging to Shabir Masih, in April 2022.  The 10 Marla (15m2)  plot is adjacent to the house of Shabir Masih and was exchanged with Nawaz Cheema a local Muslim politician , against a plot of the same size which had belonged to Shabir.a political leader in the area. The plot Mr. Masih had-owned was located on a main road and was adjacent to the house of Nawaz Cheema who wanted to extend his house. The land given to Mr Masih was nearer to his own home so both men benefited from the transfer. When they exchanged plots Mr Cheema made sure the legal ownership of Mr Masih’s land transferred over to him.  Mr Masih who is illiterate however has no such protection in place.

Mr Masih contacted Nawaz Cheema to help him regain the plot from Shakoor Butt but he flatly refused to help saying that he was afraid of being killed by Shakoor Butt.  he has stated that if Mr Masih agrees to a compromise deal with Shakoor Butt, that he will ensure correct papers are assigned for the land.  Mr Masih has flatly refused.

The lack of official land registry papers means Mr Masih will now probably never regain the land that has been stolen from him.

By taking this land Shakoor Butt has also forced Shabir Masih to flee his home as personal threats increased. Though Mr Masih has not helped Mr Masih with trying to regain his stolen land due to extremely limited chances of success, we have assured him we will fight tooth and nail for his property should an attempt me made to usurp that from him. This is the only remaining inheritance he has for his two granddaughters and we will be loathe to have that stolen from him.

In the meanwhile Mr Masih has moved to the house of a relative at Ahmad Nagar a over 200km away from his former home.  The move avoids any danger posed by Shakoor Butt.  Removal from the home where Mr Masih saw the corpses of his wife and son lying unceremoniously in a pool of blood, has been significantly calming for him.

With our assistance Shabir Masih regularly visits his grand daughters Guljanat (4.5 yrs) and Ahma (3 yrs) in Gujrat (80km away from his current place of residence) at the house of his former daughter-in-law.   who has remarried with the consent of Shabir Masih. Both the girls love him dearly him and regularly talk to him on phone also.

His former daughter-in-law has been extremely caring towards Shabir and her new husband and in-laws very supportive. The new in-laws are committed Christians and this has provided strength to Mr Maish’s faith too.  he continues to attend Church and to worship our living God with as much zeal as before.

Before moving Mr Masih had been working as sweeper at a school near Kathor Kalan, the village where he lived.  The death of his family has left him with PTSD and he had to quit the job when he moved also.  Thanks to our donor we have been able to provide Mr Masih, with some financial help to sustain himself.

BACA’s team regularly visit Mr Masih at his current residence and keep in touch with him over phone. On 13th November 2022, Mr Masih complained about bleeding hemorrhoids for a period of one week. treatments he had been prescribed were not providing any comfort.  Our field officer met with Mr Masih, the following day and took him to Doctors Hospital Wazirabad.Shabir Masih undergoing medical assessment.

After a medical check-up where the specialist doctors prescribed new medicines for a four weeks treatment. Since them Mr Masih has fully recovered from the ailment, which was both painful and uncomfortable.

Shabir Masih is in better health now.

Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:

“The attempts to force Mr Masih to accept a compromise for the death of his wife and son by the local Muslim community, is an illustration of the low worth of Christian lives in Pakistan.

“That laws exist in Pakistan that allow freedom to rapists and murderers without punishment, or rehabilitation, is simply atrocious.

The notorious Qisas and Diyat laws of Pakistan are a blight on the nation.

“They leave the the state powerless to prosecute for murder and rape and propagate injustice.

“Murder and rape is a crime against the public at large, including the victim.

“Such crimes should not be viewed as civil transaction between the murderer and the victim’s heirs.”

Mrs Chowdhry, added:

“Mr Masih has been forced to move away from his home, having lost everything else of value in his life already.

“Thankfully his faith in God has made Mr Masih a stoic individual and he continues to fight for justice, while being a part of his grand-daughters’ lives.

He has no inheritance to leave his grand-daughters but they are safe and well and will be brought up knowing the wealth of the Gospel.

“Life without his wife and son is tough and lonely but Mr Masih knows full well that one day he will be reunited with them in heaven

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