30 July, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 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.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – “I have worked all my life to buy this property. My ancestors are buried in the graveyard. I am an old man now with four four daughters. I had planned to save this property for their marriage,” said Boota Masih, as he lamented Christian powerlessness against local landlords grabbing Christian-owned land and property with the complicity of local administrators and police. His woes come as tensions rise the wake of Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder. If the authorities do not act, security forces warn, a tragedy like Gojra could happen again.

Kot Addu is a city in Muzaffargarh district, southern Punjab. A fresh wave of anti-Christian violence has swept over it. Last year, Christians suffered discrimination when aid was handed out to flood victims. In July 2009, a Christian man, Anwar Masih, was charged with blasphemy based on false accusations. When his family agreed to give a local Muslim lawmaker their property, they were dropped.

In recent days, Christians have had to endure even more abuse. Landowners in Kot Addu have grabbed Christian-owned stores and fields as well as a Christian cemetery. With the backing of local lawmakers and administrators, they threatened local Christians, desecrated Bibles and crosses in a local church and destroyed 150 tombs.

Local Christian leaders tried to file a case against the attackers at the Jaggi Moor Police station but got nowhere. Station House Officer Zubair Khalid drafted a First Information Report, but failed to include crucial details, thus allowing the culprits to walk free.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Boota Masih, one of the victims of local potentates, said that the local police refused to hear his complaint. Instead, they accused “Christians of illegally occupying the land on which they built their church and cemetery.”

Another Christian, Ghani Masih, noted that even though the attackers “desecrated Bibles, crosses and tombs,” the complaint against them was registered under Section 297 of the Pakistan Penal Code rather than Sections 295- and 295-B, which involve blasphemy.

Tensions have reached a critical point and many people fear outbreaks of large-scale violence like in Gojra, where thousands of extremists attacked Christian residents in August 2009 (pictured), burning eight people alive.

Last January’s murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and yesterday’s execution-style assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti have made the situation worse for Christians, who now fear more than ever blasphemy-related attacks.

A Christian representative from the minority wing of Pakistan People’s Party visited Kot Addu. He promised that action would be taken in support of Kot Addu Christians.

When contacted by AsiaNews, the district coordination officer for the area refused any comment.

Similarly, a local district police officer denied that anything untoward had actually happened. Instead, he said that the local Christian community made the whole thing up in order to stir up trouble.

When asked about Anwar Masih, who was forced to hand over his property under duress to have false charges dropped, the officer refused to comment. (JK)


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
09/08/2009 PAKISTAN
Gojra: Muslim leaders make false accusations, Christians demand justice
by Fareed Khan
11/21/2011 PAKISTAN
Faisalabad: accused of blasphemy, woman freed thanks to help from Christians and Muslims
by Shafique S. Khokhar
05/05/2011 PAKISTAN
Long-term “surgical intervention” needed in Pakistan, Paul Bhatti says
10/12/2004 PAKISTAN
Violence against the mentally disabled accused of blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix
05/11/2011 PAKISTAN
Sialkot: Muslim businessman uses blasphemy law against Christian rival
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
VATICAN
"Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop!" says pope as he speaks out on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, "a day of mourning," we should learn the lessons of history. The Gospel makes us know the true Jesus, the living Jesus, who speaks to the heart and is a life changer as he was for Saint Francis of Assisi. "The joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God comes through, can be seen. Christians cannot hide their faith."
IRAQ - VATICAN
Saddened by "the timidity of the civilised world," Baghdad patriarch's heart bleeding "for the innocent in Iraq, Syria and Gaza" "Forget us not!" says Mar Louis Sako in a message to Card Barbarin on the occasion of the march of solidarity with Iraqi Christians, held today in Lyon.
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.