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    » 05/20/2011, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Punjab, anti-Christian violence: nurses sequestered, families evicted from home

    Jibran Khan

    A Muslim colleague steals mobile phone and cash, then accuses two nurses of theft. The women, held in solitary confinement for nine hours, were subjected to physical violence. Muslims raid homes of two families in Gujrat. The episode ordered by a former lawmaker who wants to take possession of the land. Muslim doctors refuse treatment to Christian policeman.

    Lahore (AsiaNews) - In the province of Punjab, Pakistan's most populous area, new cases of anti-Christian violence are emerging. Two nurses at the Fatima Memorial Hospital, Lahore, were attacked and abducted for several hours by a fellow Muslim. The man also charged them with theft after stealing their mobile phone and a sum of money. In a second incident, a group of Muslims - at the behest of a former MP of the area - attacked the houses of two Christians, to force the owners to abandon them and transfer the land ownership over to him.

    Nusrat Bibi and Muneeran Bibi are two Christian nurses at Fatima Memorial Hospital in Lahore. A hospital source reports that in recent days the two women were attacked and abducted by a Muslim doctor, who works in the same building. He allegedly stole Nusrat ‘s mobile phone, a sum of money from Muneeran and when the girl put up resistance he attacked her. Then it was Nusrat’s turn to suffer, as the doctor beat her repeatedly with a wooden stick reducing her clothing to tatters.

    The source speaking on condition of anonymity, added that the nurses "were segregated for more than nine hours." The hospital administration contends that the two Christian women are guilty of theft, although they were not found in possession of any object. Fr. Joseph Xavier, priest and local activist, speaks of a "brutal act" against two workers who "did not steal anything" and whose only crime is "being Christian" and "victims of brutality."

    The second incident occurred on May 18 in Jattan Jalal, a town in the Gujrat district. A group of Muslims, hired by a former local lawmaker, invaded the homes of two Christian families to seize the buildings and surrounding farmland. Local priest Fr. Naveed Dominic confirms that the politician “'has set his sights on the land" belonging to Christians, who in the past "have received threats from various groups " but have never wanted to "leave their property. "

    The group of Muslims threw furniture out of the house and property of the Christian families, attacking the women present at the time of the raid. Some local residents tried to contact the police, but officers refused to intervene. Fr. Dominic adds: "The church has received threats not to meddle in the affair." The priest confirms that "the authorities are turning a deaf ear, because cases of persecution and anti-Christian violence reported" do not seem to interest them. "

    The climate of indifference, marginalization and violence against the religious minority is confirmed by a third episode. On 18 May the health care workers of the General Hospital in Lahore refused to treat a policeman wounded in a shooting earlier, because of his Christian faith. The ER chief doctor delayed his admittance on discovering that police agent Mushtaq Shaukat Masih was of Christian faith. Even a doctor who intervened later supported his colleague’s decision.

    Wounded and exasperated by the situation, the policeman pulled the service weapon striking the doctor with the butt of his gun. He did not, however, noticed that it was loaded and, in the collision, a shot was fired wounding a person present at the time. The Christian policemand was taken to another facility where he received appropriate medical care. Doctors at the first hospital have filed a complaint against him, but from the earliest records, judges seem to be willing to drop the charges because the victim was provoked.

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    See also

    11/08/2012 PAKISTAN
    Remembering Benazir Bhutto and Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan celebrates minorities
    On 11 August, the 65th anniversary of the historic Ali Jinnah's speech to the Assembly, is the day dedicated to non-Muslims. Minister Paul Bhatti: "We are part of one nation" and the goal is to create "a prosperous and united Pakistan." Minorities’ integration in the political and social landscape of the country.

    08/08/2009 INDIA - PAKISTAN
    India, Christian leaders: Pakistan must abolish the blasphemy law
    In a letter addressed to Pakistani President Zardari, Indian Christians seek punishment for those responsible for violence in Korian and Gojra. They claim that the charges the Koran was desecrated are used as an excuse to "attack the minorities", while the mullahs "foment hatred and violence."

    21/08/2010 INDONESIA
    Indonesian Bishops ask president for respect for religious freedom
    Critical letter signed by the President and Secretary General of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference sent to Yudhoyono. "We are concerned because the state appears unable to ensure protection of religious minorities."

    12/05/2011 PAKISTAN
    Mgr Saldanha Pakistani Christians oppressed by violence rediscover God
    Their situation is difficult and burdensome, many belong to lower social classes, hold menial jobs and are marginalized. Often relations with Muslims are of the "servant and master" nature. Archbishop Emeritus of Lahore: sense of anxiety and fear, but the Church is a source of consolation. "

    04/11/2008 PAKISTAN
    Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, is the new minister for the defense of minorities
    The Pakistani member of parliament has focused his political efforts on defending minority rights. He embraced the Catholic religion as a child, and counts on Christ in order to fulfill his new duties.



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