Christian Family Granted Bail in Hyderabad Fake Theft Case

Hyderabad, 15-05-2024 (PCN): A Christian family accused in a fake theft case in Hyderabad has been granted bail. The case, which drew considerable attention due to allegations of false accusations and police brutality, involved Maria, wife of Nouman, and Nasreen, wife of Michael. Both women, who were held in the Hyderabad women's prison, were released on bail following relentless efforts by Maqbool Masih, founder and president of the Christian Unity Council of Pakistan. Additionally, Michael Masih was granted bail on 15th May 2024.

On 7th May 2024, Muhammad Bilal, a Muslim resident of Al-Waheed Colony, Hali Road, Hyderabad, and a labour officer at Nooriabad Wind Power Plant, filed FIR No. 58/2024 at the Hali Road police station. Bilal alleged that while waiting for a friend at the Badin Bus Stop, he was surrounded by two women and two men who behaved suspiciously. He claimed that upon checking his pockets, he found that three gold biscuits, each weighing one tola (11.6638 grams), and his cell phone were missing. Despite attempting to confront the suspects, they disappeared into the crowd, prompting him to report the incident to the police.

The police arrested four family members, including the two women and two men, subjecting them to severe torture to extract confessions. The family, however, maintained their innocence. Following their detention, the family's head, Yousaf Masih, sought assistance from Maqbool Masih, who promptly engaged advocate Suba Bhatti. Bhatti successfully argued that the FIR did not specifically name the accused, facilitating their bail.

The incident took place in Hyderabad, a city known for its diverse communities and complex social dynamics. The family resides in the American Quarter of Hyderabad, where Yousaf Masih, along with his wife Razia and their seven children, live together.

This case highlights the vulnerabilities faced by minority communities, particularly domestic workers, in Pakistan. The Christian family’s ordeal underscores issues of false accusations, police misconduct, and the broader challenges minority workers face. The involvement of Maqbool Masih and the Christian Unity Council of Pakistan played a crucial role in securing justice, illustrating the importance of community support and legal advocacy.

Advocate Suba Bhatti leveraged the fact that the FIR lacked specific names, arguing effectively for the bail of the accused. The family's release was celebrated with thanksgiving prayers led by Rev. Fr. Jamil Albert, arranged by Maqbool Masih, who also held a press conference to expose the false charges and police brutality.

The plight of Yousaf Masih’s family is a stark reminder of the systemic injustices faced by minority communities in Pakistan. The fabricated case not only put the family's freedom at risk but also highlighted the broader issue of legal and social protections for domestic workers. Despite legal provisions, the lack of effective implementation leaves many vulnerable to exploitation and false accusations. This case calls for urgent reforms to protect the rights and dignity of all workers, regardless of their religious or social backgrounds.

The Christian family's release is a small victory in a larger struggle for justice and equality. It underscores the necessity for vigilant community support and the role of legal advocacy in combating systemic biases. The Christian Unity Council of Pakistan’s efforts exemplify how collective action can challenge injustices and bring about meaningful change.