Muslims shoot Christians, killing two and wounding several in Okara
by Shafique Khokhar

The violence followed a row between two families over the irrigation of some fields. Two young Christians died on the spot while others were sent to hospital in critical condition. The Christian community wants justice and protection.

Okara (AsiaNews) – More than 20 Muslims have attacked a Christian community in Punjab. 

The violence followed a row between two families over the irrigation of some fields in the Okara area.

When a group of young Christians went back to water their fields, Muslims opened fire with guns and rifles. 

Two young Christians, Yaqub Mukhtar and Haroon Mukhtar, died on the spot, while half a dozen other Christians had to be hospitalised in critical conditions.

A First Information Report (FIR) was drawn up against a group of Muslims, said Indrias Mukhtar, a witness to the incident.

Those named in the FIR include Muhammad Abbas, Babar, Mustafa, Shafqat, Gulzar, Qadir Gulzar, NasarUllah, Noor, Abbas Ahmad, Hassan Ahmad, Azhar Taj.

In all, police registered a case against 18 people, but only two have been arrested so far.

Asif Munawar, a human rights activist and member of the Jhang District Committee, visited the site of the shooting and attended the funerals. He offered his condolences to the families of the dead.

“We need tolerance, brotherhood and diversity in our society,” the activist said. “The Christian community is frightened and now demands justice. It calls on the government of Pakistan to be better protected as a religious minority and that the culprits be arrested as soon as possible.”

In Chak, a village near Okara, Muslims broke into the homes of some Christians in May of this year, destroying furniture and property and beating residents with iron bars.

In this case the violence was unleashed by a disagreement between three young Christians who were cleaning the entrance of their church and a Muslim passing by.