Authorities in Pakistan beat and arrested a Christian on Tuesday (March 16) for allegedly making blasphemous comments on social media and later tortured him into confessing guilt, sources said.
Cybercrime officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Gujranwala Circle raided the Lahore home of Fansan Shahid, 54, shortly after midnight and took him into custody on allegations that he had blasphemed Muhammad, Islam’s prophet, in a comment on Facebook in 2019, said his wife, Safia Shahid.
“When my husband opened the gate, over a dozen policemen rushed inside and started beating him up,” Shahid said. “My two children and I screamed and cried as they tortured Shahid and searched the rooms.”
Safia Shahid said her husband lost his cellphone in 2019.
“We believe that the lost phone was misused by someone to post the blasphemous comment, because my husband did not use a passcode for its security, and his Facebook account was also logged in,” she said.
Her husband would never post such comments as he was fully aware of the consequences, often reminding their 24-year-old daughter and 22-year-old son to refrain from discussing religion with Muslims, she said.
Due to retire as a purchase officer at Pakistan Railways in eight years, Fansan Shahid was the sole breadwinner for the family, and to supplement his income he was also involved in property dealings with some Muslim friends, she said.
“He had good relations with everyone, and I can’t recall him mentioning any threat or pressure on him,” Safia Shahid said.
When she met with her husband briefly in FIA custody in Gujranwala on Wednesday (March 17), he told her they had tortured him into confessing the alleged crime, she said.
Her husband has multiple health problems, and as blasphemy cases go on for years without chance of bail, she said she was extremely worried about how her family would cope.
“Today, our entire family fasted and prayed for Shahid’s early release from this false accusation,” Safia Shahid told Morning Star News. “Our faith is firm in our Lord, and I pray that may He have mercy on us and rescue us from this ordeal.”