For a Muslim majority nation that mourns Karbala every year, letting mob violence take place after days of pleas for help would be shameful
In attempts to further save God, the dear country is facing what could be the preface of another incident similar to the Joseph Colony rampage when dozens of houses in a Christian locality were torched based on a blasphemy allegation. Even after the heartrending incident in March 2013, several mob lynching and minority persecution incidents have made it to the news.
A large number of Christians right now in the village of Chakk 44, Mandi Bahauddin District, Gojra Thaana locality face persecution and threats from the area locals. All food and other supplies to them have been cut off since the start of the incident six days back and so far, there has been no response to their plea for help and protection. One thinks of the promises made to the minorities by the Prime Minister of Pakistan in December 2014, how every citizen shall be protected irrespective of their caste, color and creed.
On May 6, Imran Masih, a sweeper, was accused of blasphemy. A fatwa was issued against him for blasphemy which is punishably by death and the locals are now outraged. The ‘blasphemous’ act Imran was held guilty of was nothing more than having a video clip of a sermon by an Islamic preacher in his phone which was found out by Manzoor. The issue was taken to local prayer leader Qari Imran, and he allegedly issued the fatwa against Imran Masih calling for his persecution. The Christian households were threatened to be burnt down and demands were for Imran Masih to be handed over for ‘punishment’. The first threat was issued on May 6 after the Friday prayer.
When the incident caught attention of Senator Saleem Iqbal National Director for Care Council of Human Rights, police was deployed in the area to prevent a clash soon after. No action, however, was taken against Manzoor or Qari Imran. The Police has now been called back and now, almost a week after the initial threat, the local Christians are faced with extreme fear and unease. They have received threats about their houses being burned down. Moreover, the locals have been barred from selling daily necessities and food items to the Christians and after a week now, the conditions are disturbing. The community is under a constant threat of attack and so far, no action has been taken and no media outlets have batted an eye. For a Muslim majority nation that mourns Karbala every year, letting an incident like this take place after days of pleas for help would be shameful. The Christian community in the village has been barred from basic necessities and food and is in constant danger of attack. Many youngsters have been forced to evacuate the area to avoid what could be a brutal bout of violence. Being citizens of the same republic, Pakistani Christians are at the moment struggling to get their voice heard in Mandi Bahauddin. It is crucial that they be provided protection and coverage. Immediate action is required against Qari Imran, Manzoor and everyone else involved in this dangerous standoff. The Prime Minister’s words from 2013 ring even now: “There will be no discrimination and exception in our war against terrorism.” The Christian community of Mandi Bahauddin is waiting for this promise to be fulfilled with a sword hanging over its head.