ROD sternly condemns death sentence awarded to Zahid Masih during lent
10 Mar 2008
Multan: March 9th (ROD): 'Rays of Development Organization' (ROD) along with other major rights organizations, local church and some Para Church Organizations sternly condemned the death sentence meted out to a Christian janitor Zahid Masih (Case # 112, Dated 2-3-2005, under offence of Section 302 of PPC, Pabbitt Police Station, Peshawar) who was made to confess his guilt during 28 days long alleged torture by the Pakistan Military Investigators.
Zahid Masih was given death verdict on March 10th, 2006. His family was allegedly kept in dark about his whereabouts following implication of Masih in the murder case. It was only after a year that the concerned family got to know about Masih's misery and that too by their consistent and untiring efforts.
The concerned Christians of Pakistan question the controversial implication of Masih in this Case. It is pertinent to mention here that the Military Court as well as the Civil Court tried Zahid Masih for the same case and both the courts awarded two different sentences to him which is in contravention of the law of the Pakistan.
What hurts the sentiments of the Christians the most is the fact that death sentence was inflicted on Zahid Masih during the fasting month of Christians (lent season). According to the concerning provision of the law an accused can't be handed death sentence during Muslim Holy Month of fasting, the Ramadan and there are several precedents that support this notion.
Pakistani Christians are equal citizens Pakistan and therefore we challenge the Judgment. The Christians demand that the same law must be applied to Masih and the judgment be held in abeyance until Easter. Which falls on March 23rd.
ROD and concerned church and other civil rights organizations appeal for re-opening of the Masih's case in a Civil Court so that he could defend himself against the charges being inflicted upon him by the complainant. No opportunity was ever given to Masih to defend himself and the judgment is thought to have been given under pressure from the high-ups.
ROD, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Sharing Life Ministries of Pakistan (SLMP) also appeal to the high-level authorities including President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, other military high-level authorities and international ambassadors and delegations or observers to look into this on emergency basis and ensure that Zahid Masih be tried fairly in a Civil Court and Justice be served to him.
ROD Chairman Ferhan Mazher added that if President of Pakistan can pay heed to mercy appeal of a spy of India and pardon him, who in return has mocked the generosity and mercifulness of President and Pakistan, Zahid Masih is a Pakistani national who deserves much more than a spy like Kashmir Singh. .