Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan red the news about the attack on the Christian women on 17-03-05 morning. SLMP team left office on 18-03-05 to visit Muskeen Musharaf Colony in Islamabad, Muskeen Musharaf Colony is more than 400 km away from the SLMP’s office and it took 6 hours from office to colony by public transportation. SLMP team spent night at one friend’s house and next morning team visited the colony for facts finding.
Some statements of the People
SLMP team entered the colony and met Nusrat Bibi W/O elder Inayat Masih. That woman was washing clothes outside her house in the street. Nusrat Bibi told the team that she was also engrossed in the devotion (Prayer) suddenly; many boys started beating all the women who were sitting there for prayer. I am heart patient; I started screaming and shouting. Boys and Moulvis started beating all the women. ‘I rushed to save my life’. ‘All the men were snatching the hair of women and dragging them’. We all were sixty or sixty-five, we all were running her and there to save the life and there was nobody to help us. I had scars on my body. If there would be a lady with you I could have shown to her. But you are like my brother. If you want me to show you the scars and wounds. ‘I request you to save us from those rascals’. Team asked Nusrat bibi about her children, Nusrat told that she has 5 children.
After meeting Nusrat bibi, team entered the colony and met Kizia Yousaf W/O Yousaf Masih, Kizia Yousaf said the team, “I am a teacher for stitching and sewing, I have set up a sewing center in my home, 25 girls come to learn sewing”. When this incident took place 10/12 girls came to me. Rest of the girls went for the devotion. “I was seeing from the courtyard of my house, when Moulives attacked on the women who were sitting there for prayer and devotion”. She said, “I came towards the main gate and saw the whole situation”. “I also started shouting just because of fear”. Kizia said the SLMP team, “everything was happening haphazardly, it was showing the panorama of Kashmir”. She told that these Moulvis are against my husband. Because my husband namely Yousaf Masih and Bashir Bhuter with the help of some companion want to build a Church here in colony, Moulvis are threatening continuously that they could kill Yousaf. Now my husband is not in the colony. He is hidden in the relative’s house. I have three children; they are studying in the school. She further told the SLMP team, I apprehend that Moulvis will kill my children, I request you to save us from the Moulvis, I expect some help from you for the construction of the Church. She expressed her feeling and said “We have no identification and protection of our lives without Church”.
Abida Bashir is living away from Muskeen Musharaf Colony and she had established a middle school in the colony, where 60-70 children were getting education. A girl namely Shumila used to teach in the school without salary. Abida said to SLMP team that, “I also used to teach the children in the school” “One day Boota Bhaggat (the companion of Moulvis) and his Muslim companions broke down the walls of the school and threatened me that ‘stop this school other wise we will make problems for your family’. Abida told SLMP team that ‘I winded up the school, now the children are not getting education’; few children go to the school at the distant places’.
She further told that, “This is a great injustice that Moulvis beat the innocent Christian women who were offering the prayers and they were having a fasting at that time”. She told when it was asked by one of SLMP team member ‘that how you came here because you are living away from the colony, she said ‘some people of colony called me and I along with my husband namely Bashir Bhuter came here, Police did not come at that time, but after few hours Police came, Assistant Commissioner also came there’ She further told to SLMP team that, “Police blockaded the colony from all four sides, they did not allow the people to go out and come in the colony for the whole night, but at about 1:00a.m. I went through little forest to city along with some people of colony and reached at office of newspapers. Where the official of newspapers listened us and published this news on 17th March”. Abida said to SLMP team, “some policemen abused Christian women for the harassment of their psychological perception”.
Furzana Bibi said to SLMP team, “I was fasting and sitting there in the prayer meeting; all of a sudden Moulvis attached and started beating us, I have little baby girl in my lap at that time, my baby girl fell down when a Moulvis snatched my hair and dragged me here and there”. When Furzana was expressing her feeling she had tears in her eyes, “I shouted loudly and was weeping bitterly, thanks God who saved my baby girl”. When Police reached at that place the Moulvis were persecuting the Christian women it is unbelievable that Police did not help us and unexpected Police threatened us. Chouhadry Irshad (Assistant Sub Inspector of Police) said, “You all get away from here other wise we will brake you legs”. At the end she expressed her feelings with dismay “Police was also seeing our helpless situation in the presence of Moulvis and it seemed that Police is also under the pressure of Moulvis”.
Mohammad Bashir said to SLMP team, “This is Christian colony and seventy Christian houses are located in, there are no legal rights for this colony, that is why this colony is not mapped and map of the Church is also not shown now where we have put the foundation of the Church and allocated the place for Church. So-called Pastor Boota Bhagat and his companions Wilson, Farooq Masih, Rafaqat Masih and Pervaiz Masih are mischievous people. So-called Pastor Boota Bhagat has converted to Muslim but he showed himself a Christian. Boota Bhagat has very good relation with Maaman Musjad (Preacher and incharge of the Mosque) namely Sayyad Rahat Shah Qadri and this group has good relation other Moulvis.
Bashir further said to SLMP team about occurrence “On 16th March 05, at 4p.m., approximately 60-65 women were engrossed in the devotion and were fasting when Moulvi Mian Qasim who is resident of the same colony, went to Sayyad Rahat Shah Qadri in the Mosque and said that “Christian people are worshiping very loudly with drum and piano. The Mosque is situated approximately 300-350 feet away to the boundary of Church (site of Church) where the Christian people of colony gather for prayer meeting. By the devotion and worship of the Christian people Muslim people get disturbance in the Mosque, so, it should be strictly prohibited”. Amam Musjad Rahat Shah Qadri gather all the Moulvis and other Muslim people, he instigated and motivated them “Time has come to raise the voice against the ‘Kafar’ (Christian people), the time of martyrdom has come, we should fight for the security of our Muslim values. The War between Islam and Kufur has started, first of all I will surrender myself for the martyrdom”. Bashir said to SLMP team “Then the Moulvis attacked on the Christian women who were attending the prayer meeting”. Police also reached there after little time of attack but Police did not help the Christian women to save them from fanatic Muslims. Police blockade the colony from all the corners. The assistant commissioner namely Frasat Ali also reach there when he got the information of the occurrence who ordered strictly not to gather and conduct the prayer meeting there (cite for Church) if anyone will not obey my order he will be dealt strictly according to the law.
Ilays Masih S/O Ashiq Masih
Ilays Masih said to SLMP team “I am a mason and the expenses of the house are fulfilled by my daily wages (labour), since the day of occurrence I am not going at my work place, my family is facing many problems, it is requested to save us from the Fanatic Moulvis”.
Boota Masih S/O Gulzar Masih
We have been conducting prayer services in that premises for a long time. It is not new thing that we were gathered and praying there, Muslim just exaggerated and provoked the little issue to a big scenario. We have lost a peace of mind and sweet dreams of our nights.
Irshad Masih S/O Chanah Masih
He told the team that I am street hawker and I live from hand to mouth, I was the first one who donated money for the construction of the Church. Further he said “Please ask these Moulvis if there is no Church in the colony where would we conduct our prayer meetings”. He said with great zeal “We will erect the Church weather Moulvis will kill us”.
SLMP Team Met With Moulvis And Their Companions
SLMP team met with Boota Bhagat, he told that here no women gathered over here and no one beat any body. All the Christian people of the colony are following the instruction of Bashir Bhuter (Muslim person who is helping the Christians of the colony). They deliberately publish the false news in the newspapers.
Mohammad Ghulam Jilani
He said to SLMP team, “He have forbidden the Christian people not to give any money to Bashir Bhuter because the people of that colony are quite poor they can not give Rs.500 to Bashir Bhuter”.
Rafaqat Masih (A person of Muslim Party)
He said to SLMP team that here is no need of Church in the colony; we can offer the prayer in our houses.
SLMP Team visited inside the Mosque
When SLMP team along with Boota Bhagat and some other people went inside the Mosque the Sayyad Rahat Shah Qadri ran away silently from the back door of the Mosque.
Moulvi Hadayat Ullah
If the Church will be constructed near the Mosque there would be a great disintegration.
Qari Abdul Rehman
He said to SLMP team, “We will not let the Church be constructed near the Mosque”.
Moulvi Zahid Ali (President of Anjuman Tajran ‘Market’)
He said, “We emphatically oppose the construction of the Church”
Moulvi Mian Qasim
“We are living in the colony very peacefully but if the Church will be constructed there will be a great chaos, this place is of the Government and no body can construct the Church on that place we will raise the voice against this injustice”.
Remarks and SLMP Team Observations
Maskeen Musharaf Colony consists of 70-80 houses only 9-10 houses of the Muslims and they detest and discriminate with the Christians. The residents of colony are quite poor, most of the people are sweepers, and some of them are masons and laborers. The houses of the colony are quite dilapidated, some people use curtains as the boundary of house. Poor women and young girls used to work in the house of rich people as maidservants.
1. A beautiful Mosque is located in the start of the colony and many Moulvis are present in the Mosque all the time, some Moulvis come from the out side of colony.
2. After the attack of the Moulvis on 16-03-05, the Christian people are quite frightened and scared.
3. The young girls and women are not going to the duties or work places just because of the fear of Moulvis. The girls fell themselves insecure, children are also scared also keep themselves in the houses. Parents are not sending their children to the school that Moulvis would kill or kidnap. Because school is situated out side the colony. Men are also not going to their work places that Moulvis would involve them in the false cases with help of police. Some Christian people were hidden in the colony just because of the fear of Moulvis. Many people locked their house and went to their relatives.
4. Moulvis are not remorseful that they have disgraced the sacred of Prayer Service.
5. Moulvis have made conspiracy with the mutual agreement with police and high official of the Government.
6. It was analyzed that Muslim are using some of the Christian as puppets and exploit them.
7. Moulvis stated that they will not let the Church be constructed and the land of colony is Government property, but the Mosque is constructed over there.
8. Moulvi Mian Qasim was quarreling with the team members that they should not have taken the photographs he advices and instructed his fellows for not be on the picture because it is strictly prohibited in Islam. But SLMP team member took three photographs of Moulvi Mian Qasim.
9. SHO (station house officer) Margala did to accept the application of Christians.
10. When SLMP team was sitting in the Mosque on one moment they felt that their lives are also in danger, Moulvis were assuming them the agent of some agency that is why they controlled their emotions other wise any miss-happening could be took place with the SLMP team members over there.
11. It was observed by the SLMP team that Christian people of that colony need a mature guideline because they do not know how and where they can get justice.
12. SLMP team visited Police station to meet SHO but he was not present at that time.
13. Christian people of colony arranged a press conference in Islamabad press club with the cooperation of some NGO’s.
Translation of Application submitted to Station House Officer (SHO) Police Station Margala, Islamabad.
It is requested that in 2000 Church, Mosque and School has registered during the survey of Prime Minister Pakistan, Interior Minister Pakistan, UNO, and CDA. Now we are offering our religious duties and prayer services peacefully but some fanatics namely Boota Bhagat, Farooq, Reyasat, Wilson, Sadiq, and Mian Qasim etc. moved an application that the Church is situated in front of Mosque but in fact the Mosque is situated in the Market and Church is situated in the colony. There was no dispute and never any objectionable occurrence was taken place over here. But now some fanatics want to make an issue of religious for their own aims. We are minority here in Pakistan, and we do our duties to clean the capital city of Pakistan (Islamabad). So, please let us permit to offer our prayer services peacefully.
Other 98% of local people of colony.