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  • » 08/25/2009, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Punjab: Christian victims of the massacres in Gojra reported by police

    Sarah John

    Police claim they were involved in the violence, in which eight Christians were burned alive. Survivors accuse the police of inaction. Activist for human rights: the counter-charge motivated by police "revenge", they want to cover the real culprits. An Anglican bishop among the suspects.
    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – From persecuted victims to under suspects. That is the fate of a group of Christians from Gojra, Punjab, attacked on August 3 by a mob of thousands of angry Muslims. Fundamentalists burned houses and burnt alive eight people and now police officers accused of failing to assist, have denounced the victims of the violence.
    In the aftermath of the massacre, the Christians accused the police of not intervening to stop the assailants. In the days that preceded the attack, the police had received reports of possible violence by Islamic extremists, but did not take any action to avert the tragedy.  
    In response, officers in Gojra have in turn reported 29 Christians and 100 unidentified persons, for alleged "involvement" in the violence.
    Among the Christian personalities targeted by police are also the Anglican Bishop John Samuel of the Church of Pakistan of Faisalabad and Finyas Paul Randhawa, a representative of the city council.
    Outraged, human rights activists have called the decision by the police a “revenge” attack against the victims of violence. "We condemn outright this move by police" dennounces Atif Jamil, director of a local NGO. "It is a revenge move by agents and district administration against the Christian victims of the accidents in Gojra”.  
    The activist adds that these accusations are "baseless", made with the sole purpose of "covering the responsibilities of the police and undermining the case against the culprits." He stresses that "the involvement in the case of Bishop John Samuel, a Christian religious leader, is wrong because none of our religious leaders were involved in the violence."
    Atif Jamil further denounces the “ambiguous” behaviour of the government, which on one hand "started the process of reconstruction in Gojra" but in the other "threatens" the local Christian community, who still bears the "scars" of the violence they suffered.
     
     
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    See also

    11/08/2009 PAKISTAN
    Some 20 million Christians to mark ‘black day’ against persecution in Pakistan
    Activists, minority lawmakers and religious leaders are united in peaceful protest against the country’s blasphemy laws. This is their response to fundamentalist attacks and their way to get the Pakistan government to repeal the laws. Amnesty International backs the fight for minority rights in Pakistan.

    03/03/2011 PAKISTAN
    Punjab: Christians fear more massacres after churches and tombs are desecrated
    Kot Addu’s Christian community is facing more wrongdoings by local landlords who grabbed Christian-owned fields and shops with the complicity of local police and officials. Christian symbols are desecrated but the blasphemy law is not applied in this case. Local authorities say accusations are all made up but fail to provide legal backing for grabbing Christian property.

    08/09/2009 PAKISTAN
    Gojra: Muslim leaders make false accusations, Christians demand justice
    A Muslim association blames three Catholic priests and a layman for the violence in Gojra. The Punjab government stops paying out the compensation it had initially allocated for victims. The Christian community wants the blasphemy law repealed and the guilty punished.

    11/05/2011 PAKISTAN
    Sialkot: Muslim businessman uses blasphemy law against Christian rival
    Gulzar Masih and his son Suleman own a bookstore. They were forced to flee to avoid being attacked by a mob. Both are accused of burning a copy of the Qur‘an. In reality, they were set up by the older Masih’s Muslim business partner, who was envious of their success. Catholic priest bemoans the abuses linked to the ‘black law’ and warns that “extremist elements are getting stronger” in Pakistan.

    16/02/2010 PAKISTAN
    Christians outraged in Lahore over release of young domestic worker’s murderer
    Angry protests receive judge’s decision to release Chaudhry Muhammad Naeem, charged with the murder of Shazia Bashir. Police, doctors and prosecutors are accused of complicity with the accused. The silence of political and legal authorities is deafening to many on Facebook.



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