Christian mini truck driver being forced to convert to Islam: By Jawad Mazhar (ROD)
05 Sep 2007
Mandi Bahauddin: September 5, 2007. Gulzar Masih, a Christian mini truck driver is allegedly being forced to recite Islamic Holy Kalima (Holy verses used to mark the conversion to Islam) and convert to Islam, by two Muslim men, Khawar Butt and Baatti. The sole wage earner of the family is living under the threat of being executed or tormented viciously by the Muslim men and scared to return to his home.
Rays of Development Organization (ROD) fact-finding team visited Gulzar Masih, a 45 years old Christian mini truck driver of Chak (village) # 2, Mandi Bhawaldin, Pakistan. Gulzar Masih told ROD fact-finding team that he had been a professional truck driver for last 20 years at Mandi Bhawaldin. He said that he has his own mini truck. (Toyota Hilux # C .5990 Peshawar). Gulzar Masih said that he had been living and working with other drivers in a friendly and pleasant atmosphere, until they came to know that I am a Christian.
Masih said the difficulty started off about 6 months ago, when proprietor of the Ashraf Hotel allegedly asked him not to dine at his hotel, simply because he is a Christian, an untouchable.
Gulzar Masih told ROD that on August 15th 2007, two Muslim men, Khawar Butt and Baatti allegedly forced him to utter the Holy Kalima and embrace Islam. While he, along with three other drivers, was relaxing and chatting under the cool shade of trees near the truck stand, Mandi Bhawaldin.
Terrified Gulzar Masih alleged that after two days of this incident, he was sitting at the shop of local ironsmith Muhammad Iqbal, when Khawar Butt, Baatti and younger brother of the ironsmith Muhammad Khalid, abused and forced him out of the shop, hurling death threats on him, as he had turned down the imposition of conversion. Masih also said "All these men were my good friends, until they learnt that I am a Christian".
Appallingly poor Gulzar Masih father of Aamir Gulzar 20 and Suneeta student of class 9th said that he is the lone breadwinner of his family. Concerned Gulzar Masih went on saying that this incident has almost spoiled his freight business.
Masih told ROD that he desires to live in perfect serenity and accord with other Muslims in the society. He appealed to ROD chairman to liberate him out of this dilemma.
ROD chairman Mr Ferhan Mazher was astounded to know the pitiable episode. ROD chairman denounced such threats to the religious minorities of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He also said that the law enforcement agencies and government should take notice of such horrible incidents and Islamic religious radicals.
Chief of ROD pressed upon the necessity of tolerance, peace and harmony. He added that followers of all faiths are ought to learn to co-exist peacefully in Pakistan.