The family of a mentally-ill man, who was accused of blasphemy, seeks his released from a mental hospital stating that he needs to be taken care of by his own family.

The accused, Irfan Rafique, was charged with alleged blasphemy in 2011 and since then he has remained in a mental hospital pending a verdict against him. Rafique’s father has challenged the order of a district judge three times since he was arrested and he is still fighting the case for his son’s release.

On the father’s application, a medical board was constituted during Rafique’s detention in which it was established that he is suffering from schizophrenia, a mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels and acts. After those findings, an after-arrest bail application was filed but the district court judge dismissed the request in April 2011. Another request was dismissed by the LHC in October 2011, and a third request was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in February 2012.

After many attempts, the apex court set aside orders passed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) and the district courts and instructed that the bail application of the accused shall be deemed to be pending before the district court to be decided afresh in light of a report by the medical board. During the time the investigation is underway, the petitioner shall remain in a mental hospital in Lahore.

Since these orders were given, Rafique’s father has filed several applications asking the court to release his son to the family since his health was deteriorating with every passing day. However, each time the application was either dismissed or it was pended and the patient still remains in custody at a mental hospital.

The FIR registered against Rafique by Muhammad Qasim in Shadbagh police on March 30, 2011 states that Qasim received a message on his mobile in which derogatory language was used against the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

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