31 July, 2015 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
CHINA
Unofficial catholic community of Wenzhou speak out against forced demolition of Crosses, whole diocese fasting
by Joseph YuanAfter 90-year-old Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou led 26 priests of the open Church community to protest against the government’s act to demolish Crosses, Coadjutor Bishop James Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou also led his priests to issue an open statement “Strongly demand a halt to demolish Crosses on all churches.
CHINA
Wenzhou: 90-year-old bishop and 26 priests protest against cross demolitions
by Joseph YuanThis is not the first time that the old bishop and his priests speak out against the demolition campaign against crosses and churches, which has touched more than 400 buildings. During the protest, police tried to disperse the group, which sought to submit a petition. The faithful recite a Crown of the Divine Mercy is in support of the Chinese Church. In Lishui, churches are expected to be torn down by 31 August.
ISRAEL - IRAN
After nuclear deal, Israel ought to become Iran’s best ally
by Uri AvneryThis is the thesis of Uri Avnery, leader of Gush Shalom, a major supporter of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. According to the great statesman and peace activist, Iran only wants to be a regional power in the Islamic world, able to trade with everyone, inspired by a sophisticated experience that goes back thousands of years. Iran, which faces backward-looking Gulf monarchies and emirates, could be a great ally against Daesh. Meanwhile in Israel Netanyahu, politicians and the media continue to blunder.

Dossier

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.