Muslims set on fire Churches and hundreds of homes but cases filed against 8 Christian


Lahore, Pakistan: July 3, 2009. (PCP exclusive report) The Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan SLMP released the first update fact-finding report on attack of Muslim mob on Christians in Bahmani Wala

village in district Kasur. Christians Brutally Attacked by Muslim Mob in District Kasur SLMP report: This is a report on Christians brutally attacked by Muslim mob, on June 30, 2009, in a village known as Bahmani wala District Kasur. More then 600 hundred Muslim attacked about 100 Christians for a blasphemy accusation. Angry mob destroyed Christians’ houses, robbed their valuable belongings and tortured Christian men and women mercilessly. Christians became homeless after the incident as their houses have bee set on fire. Muslims of the area have boycotted Christians. Christians are unable to purchase food items or other stuff for daily needs from he shops on Muslims. Electricity power & water supply for Christians’ houses has been cut off and angry Muslims have marginalized them. Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan (SLMP) team consisted five members led by Mr. Sohail Johnson Chief Coordinator SLMP visited Christians of Bahmani Wala Village to provide them support as they are in crises. When team reached the village, the Christian villagers were frightened for Muslims’ attack. Their houses are demolished and they are taking refuge in a church. Team came to know that poor people did not eat food since the occurrence took place. The Chief Coordinator SLMP Mr. Sohail Johnson immediately arranged food and served to the victims of brutal attack. Background Bahmani village is situated at some short to Ganda Singh border Kasur between India and Pakistan. More then hundred Christian families are living in village Bahmani among perhaps 600 Muslim families since long time. Most of the Christians do labour work in the fields of Muslim landlords while some of them are doing reasonable job or getting education Occurrence According to the facts collected by SLMP team there was a trivial quarrel between a Sardar Masih, 38 aged years, on 29th June 2009. Sardar Masih was driving a tractor at about 7:30pm while Muhammad Riaz riding on the bike stopped Sardar on the way to village. Sardar Masih requested him to give way on which Muhammad Riaz became angry and abused Sardar saying, “How dared you to stop me you low caste”. A scuffle took place between both of them, which, later, became reason of a critical incident. Mohammad Riaz with help of influential of the area got registered a criminal case vide First Information Report (FIR) No. 460, offense under section 148/149, 337/379 A2, A1, L2, F1 of Pakistan penal court, with police station Sadar Kasur, against eight nominated whereas three unknown Christians of the village. The FIR got registered on 29th June 2009. Nominated Christians in the FIR dated 29th June 2009 are us under 1. Bhola Masih 2. Tariq Masih 3. Vikram Masih 4. Kudha Masih 5. Mushtaq Masih 6. Gogee Masih 7. Babi Masih 8. Barkat Masih 9. Three Unknown Blasphemy Accusation To fulfill his grudge Muhammad Riaz contacted a local clergyman named as Qari Lateef who is known to be bone of contention for many other blasphemy cases in Kasur. Qari Lateef urged Muhammad Riaz to plot a blasphemy accusation against Sardar Masih and other Christians. After an agreement, Qari Lateef made several announcements in the loud speakers of the mosque in the village and urged Muslims of the village and in surrounding villages to get together to punish Christians of village Bahmani Wala because they have committed blasphemy against Prophet Mohammad. Important Person Qaari Lateef Qaari Lateef is a major character in this case. When SLMP team collected information about Qaari Lateef, a Christian boy who used to study in a school where Qaari Lateef was teacher, told that Qaari is known to be a characterless person. He is notorious for his corruption and wrong doings. The Christian boy requested SLMP to not to mention his name in report and provided a leaflet containing draft about wrongdoings of Qaari Lateef. Translation of Draft against Qaari Lateef Wrongdoings of Qaari 1. Qaari Lateef was appointed as an “Imam” clergyman for mosque in the area known as Hariher. He performed is duties for about 3-4 years. He had been collecting charity to renovate Mosque from the people of the area. The locals expelled him from mosque when they came to know that Qaari spent all funds to build his own house at some other Place. 2. Afterwards Qaari was appointed as “Imam” in village Bamani Wala were he did the same, he caught red handed in corruption. 3. Qaari has been involved in sodomizing his student at a town known as Maan some far from village Bahmani Wala. 4. Qaari Lateef accused his colleague (teacher) of Blasphemy some years ago while the teacher has very good reputation in the area. He has been confronting miserable circumstances due to false accusation of blasphemy. 5. Qaari has ill repute because of abusing little children student (of Quran) sexually. Role of Authorities The matter of persecuted Christians in village Bamani Wala has brought into the notice of higher authorities. The Chief Minister of Punjab, (who always posses to be very sympathetic to minorities) has formed a committee to resolve the problem. An emergency meeting in the office of District Police Officer (DPO) Kasur has been attended by Abdul Jabaar Shaheen District Coordination Officer (DCO) Kasur, the Minister for Human Rights Punjab Kamran Michael, Noel Amir Sahotra Member Provincial Assembly (MPA), Asif Mehmood (MPA), Mr. Joseph Francis Director Center For Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement, Mr. Sohail Johnson Chief Coordinator Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, Naseem Akhter Shaikh Member of National Assembly (MNA), Station House Officer of Local Police Station (S.H.O) named Arshad Mehmood Sahi, Nazim of the area Sardar Fatiha any many others. DPO vowed to take a strict action against the culprits within three days. He has formed a committee to investigate the matter and submit investigation report with in three days. Testimonies Christians of Bahmani Wala village are still under fear of Muslims’ attack. SLMP team interviewed some Christians of the village who told that Muslims’ attacked them in presence of local police, but police did nothing to protect Christians. There are some testimonies of Christian villagers as under: Haroon Masih “My name is Haroon, I am 22 years old. I was present in the village when Muslim mobs attacked our houses. That was a brutal attack. First Qaari Lateef announced in the loudspeakers that Christians of Bahmni Walla have passed derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad; He called Muslims of the village and from surrounding villages to come together and kill Christians, as they all are blasphemer. That was very strange to us; hundreds of Muslims got together armed with weapons and clubs. They attacked our houses and set them on fire. They also set carts, motorbikes, tractors and other good on fire that are use as source of our income. They tortured our men and women, police were present in the village but they did nothing to protect us. Now we are helpless we do not have beds, utensils, clothes or any other thing for our daily use. They also burnt our articles that we use to earn money.” Hanifan Bibi “My name is Hanifan, I am Christian by faith, I am about 45 years old and live in this village. On 30th June 2009 hundreds of Muslims attacked us. They destroyed our houses and robbed all our money and jewelry etc. They also destroyed my house and looted jewelry of my daughter. We were saving money to arrange my daughter’s marriage but Muslims’ mob looted all we saved for out daughter. Now we became homeless and empty handed” Hanifan started shedding tears and was unable to speak any more. Present situation Electricity Power cut off: SLMP team remained in the village for midnight there was not electricity power for Christians’ houses; their electric meters have been broken by mob. Electricity power has been cut off while there was power in the houses of Muslims living in same village. Water Supply Cut off: SLMP team also witnessed that water supply for Christian houses have also been cut off. That was terrible to see this scene. Muslims Boycott Christians: SLMP team came to know that Muslim shopkeepers have boycotted Christians. Christians can not purchase any thing from Muslims’ shops as they are accused of Blasphemy against Prophet Mohammad. Threats: Christians of Bahmani Wala village are still under threats of Muslims’ attack. They are feeling insecure in the area. They have shifted their young girls to some safe place. SLMP served food to hungry Christians SLMP came to know that Christians of the village are hungry since the attack took place. Mr. Sohail Johnson Chief Coordinator SLMP immediately arranged food for poor villagers. It was heartrending that Christians of the village did not have utensils to eat the food. People hardly had their meal by sharing plates with each other. Immediate Needs Christians of the village need protection and appropriate legal action against the attackers. They have lost all their belongings; their houses have been destroyed so at present they need shelter, food, and other stuff used in daily life. Then they need to be assured of a protective living in the village. They would have need to provide with finance to re-set their businesses as well. Mr. Sohail Johnson condemned persecution on Christians of village Bahmani Wala. He said that this incident proved that Government is failed to protect Christians from murderous attacks in the name of religion. This incident has refreshed the memories of many other attacks on Christians like Shanty Nagar, Chiyanwali and Sangla Hill in which many Christian were gone in crises. He also said that this incident gave a sense of insecurity for Christians in Pakistan negligence of authorities who always posses to be liberal and sympathetic to Christians and other religious minority of Pakistan. Mr. Sohail Johnson urged international Christian community to help our brothers and sisters those who suffered persecution, as they have lost a lot for being Christian.

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