Part Four: Shantinagar and Khanewal: Ramification of Pakistan Blasphemy laws. By Dr. Stephen Gill

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The incident reminds one of the holocausts at the time of the creation of Pakistan in 1947 when the Hindus and Muslims killed one another in the name of God whom nobody has seen. The young persons of today in Pakistan

 "no longer have to stretch their imagination to know what happened at the time of partition to the subcontinent 50 years ago, especially in the undivided Punjab. A visit to some villages in District Khanewal, as well as the city itself (430 km from Islamabad) would suffice to witness the onslaught of senseless communal hatred, couched in self-righteous slogans and aimed at the destruction of all that stands for sane and sound places of worship of those having a different religious identity. The inhabitants of Shanti Nagar (ironically, the name of the village denotes peace), a quiet but burgeoning village till a few weeks back, overnight turned into a harassed crowd of the homeless people, refugees in their own hamlets and dependent on charity even for trivial necessities of daily life."12

  After 1947, it was the second attack on minorities on a large scale. In 1989, there was an attack on Chak Sekunder on the Ahmedis, another minority which is a splinter group of Islam. This attack on Shanti Nagar was the second one and the first on the entire Christians of a village. In that storm of 1947, several Muslims in India saved their lives from the Hindus and the Sikhs by displaying the cross in front of their houses or wearing it to indicate they were Christians. The same section of the society which had saved the lives of many Muslims in 1947 fell victim to their frenzy in 1997. It is all because of the separate electorate system and the blasphemy laws which were introduced by Zia-ul-Haq.

 BIBLIOGRAPHY

 *1A Peaceful Struggle, Ed. Fr. Khalid Rashid Asi. Box 87, G.P.O., Bishop's House, Faisalabad, Pakistan, May 1999, p. 111

*2Flames & Ashes, Pakistan Christian Community Council, Lahore, Pakistan, 1997, Page 3.

*3The Mirror. Lahore, Pakistan) March 1997

*4The Mirror. Lahore, Pakistan) March 1997

*5Friday Times, The. 20th, February 1997

*6Friday Times, The. (weekly), Khaled Ahmed.  Feb. 20-26, 1997.

*7Friday Times, The. (weekly), Khaled Ahmed.  Feb. 20-26, 1997.

*8Dawn. Saturday, February 8, 1997

*9Asia Focus. Feb. 21, 1997

*10Friday Times, The. (weekly), Khaled Ahmed.  Feb. 20-26, 1997.

*11Newsline. Feb.1997, page 83

*12Mirror, The. March, 1997

 About Stephen Gill:

Stephen Gill, a multiple award winning Indo/Canadian self-exiled poet, fiction-writer and essayist, has authored more than thirty books. He is the subject of doctoral dissertations, and research papers. Thirteen  books of critical studies have been released by book publishers on his works and more are on the way. His poetry and prose have appeared in nearly nine hundred publications. The focus of his writing is love and peace.

 

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