» 05/26/2011, 00.00
Anti-Christian violence in Faisalabad: tombs desecrated, young woman gang-raped
Muslim landowners use tractors to plough over a Christian cemetery in order to seize the land illegally. A 29-year-old mother is drugged and raped by six men. In both cases, police covers up for the culprits. Government must act, Faisalabad priest says.
Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Christian tombs were recently desecrated and a young Christian woman was gang-raped for an entire night. In both cases, police refused to file a First Information Report, allowing the culprits to escape justice. These are examples of the ordinary violence visited upon Pakistan’s Christian minority. Whether it involves Christian-owned land and property or individuals who are targeted because they are defenceless, victims will not find justice with the country’s legal system. Gradually, Pakistan’s ‘Islamisation’ slowly progresses, especially in the densely populated province of Punjab.
The Pakistan Christian Post reports that, in Chak Jhumra (Faisalabad), Muslim landowners destroyed and desecrated a Christian graveyard, using a tractor to plough over a number of tombs. Buried coffins were broken and the bones of the dead were brought to the surface. The local police refused to open an inquiry, whilst the landowners utter threats against local Christians to get them to stop legal proceedings.
The Faisalabad chapter of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Pakistani Catholic Church has intervened in the affair. A team sent by the commission visited the desecrated graveyard and collected evidence.
However, a local Muslim has filed a claim, saying he owned the land on which the cemetery is located. The first hearing in the case is scheduled for 13 June 2011.
Fr Joseph Jamil, a Faisalabad priest, strongly condemned the anti-Christian violence. “The Church,” he said, “is closing monitoring the issue.”
“Landowners and extremists are actively involved against the Christian minority in Punjab,” he told AsiaNews. “Most attacks happen in the central part of the province.” The government, he said, should “take charge of the situation and defend the minority.”
As additional evidence of the prevailing atmosphere of violence, a story came to light involving a 29-year-old Christian woman who was abducted by a Muslim co-worker, roughed up, drugged and gang-raped.
Afshan Sabir is a factory worker and a mother of three. She was assaulted over night on 27 March in an unspecified area near Gojra. When she woke up, she sought help in a state of disorientation. She later tried to file a complaint with the local police station. However, instead of helping the woman, police officers helped the rapists cover their tracks.
On this occasion, the National Commission for Justice and Peace also intervened, providing the victim with legal counsel and following the case on her behalf.
(Jibran Khan contributed to the article)
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.
Faisalabad: Muslim leaders defend young Christian against false blasphemy accusations
Philip Masih was accused of removing a poster on a shop wall by a Muslim neighbour who got armed men together to punish the alleged blasphemer. The police and the authorities successfully prevented a violent escalation. The two had argued before and the Muslim man wanted revenge.
Collusion between police and extremists cause of deaths in judicial custody, Pakistani NGO says
A human rights group expresses concern over “increasing incidents of violence” against religious minorities. Fanatics enjoy impunity thanks to complicitous prison guards. The government is blamed for not prosecuting people responsible for such crimes. Police has not yet registered a first information report on the murder of a 20-year-old Christian man in Sialkot prison.
Sialkot: police charges crowd at funeral for young man killed in prison for blasphemy
Police attack mourners during the burial ceremony. Witnesses say police used tear gas against the crowd, injuring some and arresting others. Police claims it had to move in to prevent “further disturbances”. Catholic leaders renew call for the repeal of the blasphemy laws.
Police fail to uphold amended Blasphemy Law
The chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance criticises police following attacks against Christians and Hindus in Noswhera and after a man is arrested for allegedly desecrating the Qu'ran.
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
24/05/2017 CHINA- VATICAN
19/05/2017 BANGLADESH - SAUDI ARABIA
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.