72-year-old Pakistani Christian Falsely Accused of Blasphemy Released After Accuser Admits Lying

Younis Bhatti after his release from custody | Christian Daily International-Morning Star News

Police in Pakistan have discharged a 72-year-old Christian man from a blasphemy case after the complainant admitted she had falsely accused him, sources said.

Younis Bhatti, known as Bhagat, was on February 10, arrested and charged with desecrating the Quran under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s blasphemy statutes, which carries a mandatory life sentence, in village 211-RB, Jaranwala Tehsil, Faisalabad District, Punjab Province,.

Sosan Fatima, a member of the Brethren house church founded by the Bhatti family, had accused him of forcing his way into her house when she was reading the Quran, assaulting her and tearing the Islamic scripture. In her complaint, Fatima also stated that Bhatti opposed the family’s alleged conversion to Islam.

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Bhatti had provided Fatima free housing on his land, and she had objected to his plans to divide her home with another needy Christian family. He said that after police heard his statement, officers brought Fatima and her husband to the station the next night and questioned them in his presence. He added that police also made efforts to record the statements of other area Christians, according to The Christian Post.

“After some time, Fatima broke down and confessed that she had falsely accused me,” Bhatti told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “She said that her husband and two other Christians had hatched this plan 10 days ago to stop me from dividing the property.”

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Bhatti said police told him that they would remove his name from the First Information Report (FIR) but could not immediately release him due to the threat to his life. After the blasphemy allegations surfaced, announcements on mosque loudspeakers had incited more than 500 Muslims to protest, causing many area Christians to flee their homes.

“I can’t thank God enough for rescuing me from this dangerous accusation,” Bhatti said. “Those who sought to implicate me in the fake case were instead booked under the same charges. This is how God works when you put your faith in Him fully.”

“Fatima’s accusation was completely baseless. While it’s true that I had gone to her quarters on that day to discuss the matter of dividing the property, I did not step inside the premises,” Bhatti told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “Her husband was not at home at that time, and neighbors advised me to refrain from arguing with the woman in her husband’s absence.”

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Taking the advice, he went to a nearby village to meet a friend.

“I came to know about the issue a couple of hours later when someone informed me on the phone that Fatima had raised a clamor after I left, accusing me of desecrating the Quran,” Bhatti said.

He said the caller also told him that all Christian residents in the area had fled their homes after the announcements were made from mosque loudspeakers telling Muslims to gather and protest against the alleged blasphemy.

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He also expressed his gratitude for the aid he received from a Christian rights organization.

Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List of the most difficult places to be a Christian, as it was the previous year.

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