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