COMPASS DIRECT NEWS ON PAKISTAN

 

PAKISTAN

MUSLIM MOB KILLS WIFE, CHILDREN OF CHRISTIAN

July 8 (Compass Direct News) – A Muslim mob in Jhelum, Pakistan murdered the wife and four children of a Christian last month, but local authorities are too afraid of the local Muslim leader to file charges, according to area Muslim and Christian sources. Jamshed Masih, a police officer who was transferred 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Gujrat to Jhelum, Punjab Province, said a mob led by Muslim religious leader Maulana Mahfooz Khan killed his family on June 21 after Khan called him to the local mosque and told him to leave the predominantly Muslim colony. Masih’s Muslim neighbor, Ali Murtaza, said that after a shopkeeper refused to sell laundry detergent to Masih’s oldest son, 11, Khan led a Muslim mob to Masih’s home and confronted his wife. The mob accused the boy of blaspheming Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and when she protested, they killed her and her children. When Masih tried to file a complaint against Khan for the murder, Station House Officer (SHO) Ramzan Mumtaz refused to do so, according to Murtaza and Presbyterian clergyman Saleem Mall. Murtaza said, “The SHO just said, ‘I am a poor man, I have a family, and I was pressured by higher authorities not to register the FIR [First Information Report] as Khan is a very influential man. I am sorry; I don’t have anything in my hands.'” Contacted by Compass, SHO Mumtaz confirmed that he responded to the request to file the complaint against Khan in these exact words. Masih has filed a complaint with the chief minister of Punjab Province begging him for justice, Mall told Compass.

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PAKISTAN

TWO CHURCHES COME UNDER ATTACK FROM ISLAMISTS ***

July 13 (Compass Direct News) – Christian communities in two areas in Punjab Province came under attack earlier this month. In Sargodha, an unidentified motorcyclist on July 1 tossed a grenade in front of the gates of St. Filian’s Church of Pakistan, next to a small Christian-owned amusement park where children were playing, Christian sources said. It did not explode. The Rev. Pervez Iqbal of St. Filian’s said the Bomb Disposal Squad and New Satellite Town police took the grenade away. High-ranking police officials cordoned off the area, declaring a “High Red Alert” in Sargodha, he added. At a small village near Sheikhupura, a church building and Christian homes came under threat of demolition on July 5. Islamic extremists issued threats as, accompanied by local police, they intended to demolish the Apostolic Church Pakistan structure in Lahorianwali, Narang Mandi, with a bulldozer, area Christians said. Assistant Sub-Inspector Rana Rauf led Narang Mandi police and the extremists in an attempted demolition that was averted with the intervention of Christian leaders who called in district police. Area Christian Zulfiqar Gill told Compass that the Islamic extremists threatened the Christians. “They said that if we ever tried to rebuild the walls or renovate the frail Apostolic Church building, they would create a scene here like Gojra,” Gill said, referring to Aug. 1, 2009 attacks that left at least seven Christians dead.

*** A photo of St. Filian’s Church of Pakistan is available electronically. Contact Compass Direct News for pricing and transmittal.

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PAKISTAN

CHRISTIANS NARROWLY ESCAPE FLYING BULLETS ***

July 15 (Compass Direct News) – Suspected Islamic extremists fired bullets into the car of a Christian evangelist with impunity last month, while in another Punjab Province town stray gunfire led to two Christians being falsely accused of murder. Following a youth revival in Essa Nagri, near Faisalabad, the Rev. Kamran Pervaiz was in the passenger seat of a Toyota Corolla returning to Faisalabad with his team on June 25 when 12 armed men tried to stop their car, the pastor said. The rear window suddenly broke to pieces as bullets pierced the car. The driver turned into a field and turned off the engine, and the assailants sped past. Pervaiz said they were targeted because of their involvement in the Christian revival meeting; Muslim groups had warned the Christians to abort the meeting after banners and posters were displayed across Essa Nagri. At Ghulam Muhammad Abad police station in Faisalabad, Acting Superintendent Shabir Muhammad declined to register a First Information Report on the attack due to pressure from local Muslim groups, he said. “I am trying to register the FIR, but the things are out of my control at higher levels,” Muhammad told Compass. In Gujrat, by contrast, police soon arrested two young Christian men after shots fired into the air by a drunken man killed a neighbor. Saleem Masih, 22, and John Masih, 23, were falsely accused of robbery as well as murder, a later police investigation found, and they were released. Their employer, Chaudhry Ashraf Gondal, had become inebriated along with friend Chaudhry Farhan on June 18, and Farhan fired gunshots into the air for fun, killing Malik Sajid, said senior superintendent of police operations officer Raon Irfan. “Ashraf bribed the SHO to arrest someone else and file charges of robbery and murder,” Irfan said.

*** Photos of Saleem Masih and John Masih are available electronically. Contact Compass Direct News for pricing and transmittal.

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PAKISTAN

CHRISTIANS ACCUSED OF ‘BLASPHEMY’ SLAIN ***

July 19 (Compass Direct News) – Today suspected Islamic extremists shot dead two Christians accused here of “blasphemy.” Armed gunmen shot the Rev. Rashid Emmanuel, 32, and his 30-year-old brother Sajid Emmanuel days after handwriting experts on Wednesday (July 14) notified police that signatures on papers denigrating Muhammad did not match those of the accused. Expected to be exonerated, the two leaders of United Ministries Pakistan were being led in handcuffs under police custody back to jail when they were shot at 2:17 p.m., according to Rizwan Paul, president of advocacy group Life for All. “Five armed, masked men attacked and opened fire on the two accused,” Paul said. “Sajid died on the spot,” while Rashid Emmanuel died later.” Christian Lawyers’ Foundation President Khalid Gill said the two bodies bore cuts and other signs of having been tortured, including marks on their faces, while the brothers were in police custody. Muslims staged large demonstrations in the past week calling for the death penalty for the brothers, who were arrested when Rashid Emmanuel agreed to meet a mysterious caller at a train station but was instead surrounded by police carrying papers denigrating Muhammad – supposedly signed by the pastor and his brother and bearing their telephone numbers. The Muslim who allegedly placed the anonymous call to the pastor, Muhammad Khurram Shehzad, was the same man who filed blasphemy charges against Emmanuel and his brother and was already present at the Civil Lines police station when the pastor and an unnamed Christian arrived in handcuffs, said Atif Jamil Pagaan, coordinator of the Harmony Foundation advocacy group. The shooters escaped, and Punjab’s inspector general has reportedly suspended the superintendent of police and deputy superintendent police for their failure to provide security for the slain brothers.

 

*** A photo of the body of Rashid Emmanuel is available electronically. Contact Compass Direct News for pricing and transmittal.

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PAKISTAN

CHRISTIAN NURSING STUDENT NEARLY DIES FROM ASSAULT ***

July 26 (Compass Direct News) – A Catholic nurse trainee has regained consciousness after a Muslim doctor allegedly raped her and threw her from a hospital’s fourth-floor window this month. The third-year student nurse told media and rights groups that on July 13 several Muslim men, led by Dr. Abdul Jabbar Meammon, beat and raped her, and then threw her from the window of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) to keep her from revealing the abuse. Meammon, who had taken over a room in the all-female wing of the hospital, has a history of abusing Christian nurses, a hospital administrator said. Dr. Seemi Jamali, chief of JPMC’s Emergency Department, told Compass that Meammon had been suspended from the hospital seven times for drinking alcohol on the job and other misbehavior, and that he was drunk when he assaulted Ashraf. A medico-legal officer at the hospital who carried out autopsies, Meammon was forcibly occupying a room in the women-only wing of the doctors’ hostel, Jamali said. She added that Meammon is an influential figure backed by a leading political party in Karachi. The young woman, Magdalene Ashraf, was unconscious for 56 hours as surgeons fought for her life at the intensive care unit of JPMC and is still in critical condition. Police have charged Meammon and his accomplices with attempted murder, but Christian organizations are urging police to file gang-rape charges. He added that police have also arrested Dr. Ferhat Abbas and another doctor identified only as Tayyab. Dr. Donald Mall, an administrator with Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, told Compass that there “are hundreds of rape cases of Christian nurses by doctors which go unreported in Pakistan,” and that the Sindh Province Health Department has ignored them.

*** Photos of Magdalene Ashraf and demonstrations against anti-Christian violence are available electronically. Contact Compass Direct News for pricing and transmittal.

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PAKISTAN

SUSPECTED ISLAMISTS SHOOT FIVE CHRISTIANS TO DEATH ***

July 29 (Compass Direct News) – A dozen masked men shot five Christians to death as they came out of their church building here on July 15, two months after a banned Islamic extremist group sent church leaders a threatening letter, relatives said. Pastor Aaron John and church members Rohail Bhatti, Salman John, Abid Gill and Shamin Mall of Full Gospel Church were leaving the church building after meeting to discuss security in light of threats they had received, said the pastor’s son, Shahid John. “As we came out of the church, a group of a dozen armed gunmen came and opened fire at us,” said Shahid John, who survived a bullet in his arm. Besides Shahid John, five others were wounded in the attack. In May church leaders received a letter from Islamic extremist group Sip-e-Sahaba (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba until it was banned) warning the Christians to leave the area, said Kiran Rohail, wife of the slain Rohail Bhatti. Sip-e-Sahaba and Sunni Tehrik extremist groups are both linked with an area madrassa (Islamic school) whose students had been threatening the church since 2008, Christian sources said. The masked gunmen of July 15 had young physiques like those of students, Christian sources said, and their manner of attack indicated they were trained extremists. The madrassa students that have threatened the church since 2008 belong to the Sunni Tehrik extremist group, the sources said. Pastor John and Bhatti had reported the threats of the past two years to police, but officers at the local station did not take them seriously, relatives said. Police also declined to register a First Information Report (FIR) when church leaders reported the threatening letter of May. An independent government source confirmed the shooting deaths of the Christians, adding that local Islamist pressure had prevented media from reporting on it.

1. PAKISTAN: A Christian teacher faces systematic discrimination at work and is dismissed without valid ground or lawful compensation

ISSUES: Minorities; Freedom of religion; Labour rights; Right to education

30 July 2010

CASE NARRATIVE:

Ms. Julia Austin, 32, comes from an educated Christian family of Lahore and studied Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. She has been teaching mathematics for 11 years and has been employed at Bahria Town School, a private educational institute in Lahore since February 1, 2007. On June 22, 2010, she was dismissed by her principal, Ms. Naghmana Ambreen.

Ms. Ambreen, a Muslim woman allegedly known for her hatred for Christians, repeatedly abused Ms. Austin since 2007. In addition to a humiliating treatment, notably in front of her students, Ms. Austin suffered an unjustified downgrading. During a change in the administration of the school that lasted 5 months and made Mr Javed Nisar principal, Ms. Austin obtained a senior grade and was made head of the mathematics department, in reward to her valuable work. As soon as Ms. Ambreen managed to come back at the head of the school, she downgraded Ms. Austin and continued her abuses. Other members of the staff who supported Ms. Austin were also discriminated against or dismissed by her principal Ms. Ambreen.

On several occasions, Ms. Ambreen showed violent and heinous behaviour. In mid-2009, after a disagree-ment with Ms. Nasreen, a janitor of the school, she allegedly allowed some men to abuse her and beat her up in front of the school premises.

She also showed religious intolerance. During the change in administration, the new principal invited a pastor to come and speak about Christianity and integration of minority religions in Pakistani society. She advocated against such “un-Islamic” behaviour and had the principal dismissed. She moreover hired a man, whose qualification as a teacher is highly questionable. Instead of teaching mathematics, the man allegedly spreads sectarian teachings and calls the young students for jihad.

On June 22, 2010, Ms. Austin was called in the principal’s office and was dismissed without warning. Ms. Ambreen pretended that Ms. Austin’s results at the annual examination were not sufficient and that she did not properly prepare her classes. However, the results published by Agha Khan Examination Board show that Ms. Austin’s students obtained the highest scores of the school.

In addition to this lack of valid grounds for her dismissal, the normal procedure was not respected. Indeed, according to the teachers’ contract, one can be dismissed only after three warning letters have been issued. Ms. Austin did not receive any and there would be no reason for her to receive one. Moreover, if a contract is terminated, the employee must receive the equivalent of a two-month salary. Ms. Austin did not receive any compensation and was further denied her full salary, to which the principal deducted more than Rs. 7,000 for days that Ms. Austin supposedly took off. This is completely illegal, notably as Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays recognised by the government.

In view of this injustice, Ms. Austin tried to complain to the school authorities and to ask for a proper inquiry to be conducted into her dismissal. However, no one among the school direction would listen to her or accept her complaint. The AHRC contacted a colleague of Ms. Austin, who asked for her identity not to be disclosed and who confirmed that Ms. Austin was very badly treated by her principal and the school authorities and that she was systematically discriminated against because she is Christian.

Ms. Austin is now having a hard time finding another teaching job, as Christians suffer from religion-based discrimination. She is asking for justice and reparation. She is moreover concerned for her students, who are left with incompetent teachers, preaching religious hatred and intolerance.

In addition, she does not dare filing an official complaint for fear of the severe repercussion it might trigger from the Muslim majority not only against her, but also against the entire Christian community.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Members of religious minorities are regularly assaulted, tortured or murdered and their property and place of worship are ransacked and desecrated. The blasphemy laws understand blasphemy only as an offence against Islam and are used by a criminal nexus between the police, the administration and religious fundamentalists to intimidate Christians, Ahmadis and all religious minorities in Pakistan.

The month of July is marked by the killings of two Christian brothers in July and the anniversary of the Gojra incident during which a Muslim mob attacked the Christian community after two men were accused of blasphemy against Islam. Seventy houses were set on fire and seven Christians, including four women and two children were torched alive. In this context, no room can be left for religious intolerance.

The Pakistan Constitution states that all citizens are equal before the law. The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights further guarantees equality and freedom of religion and expression. As a signatory of this convention, Pakistan must take strong measures to put an end to the systematic discrimination faced by religious minorities. Everyone must remember Jinnah’s speech to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947:
“You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State … We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State”.

2. Summary:

Suspected Islamists Shoot Five Christians to Death in Pakistan

Muslim extremist groups had threatened church for two years.

By John Little

SUKKUR, Pakistan, July 29 (Compass Direct News) – A dozen masked men shot five Christians to death as they came out of their church building here on July 15, two months after a banned Islamic extremist group sent church leaders a threatening letter, relatives said. Pastor Aaron John and church members Rohail Bhatti, Salman John, Abid Gill and Shamin Mall of Full Gospel Church were leaving the church building after meeting to discuss security in light of threats they had received, said the pastor’s son, Shahid John. “As we came out of the church, a group of a dozen armed gunmen came and opened fire at us,” said Shahid John, who survived a bullet in his arm. Besides Shahid John, five others were wounded in the attack. In May church leaders received a letter from Islamic extremist group Sip-e-Sahaba (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba until it was banned) warning the Christians to leave the area, said Kiran Rohail, wife of the slain Rohail Bhatti. Sip-e-Sahaba and Sunni Tehrik extremist groups are both linked with an area madrassa (Islamic school) whose students had been threatening the church since 2008, Christian sources said. The masked gunmen of July 15 had young physiques like those of students, Christian sources said, and their manner of attack indicated they were trained extremists. The madrassa students that have threatened the church since 2008 belong to the Sunni Tehrik extremist group, the sources said. Pastor John and Bhatti had reported the threats of the past two years to police, but officers at the local station did not take them seriously, relatives said. Police also declined to register a First Information Report (FIR) when church leaders reported the threatening letter of May. An independent government source confirmed the shooting deaths of the Christians, adding that local Islamist pressure had prevented media from reporting on it.

 

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Suspected Islamists Shoot Five Christians to Death in Pakistan

Muslim extremist groups had threatened church for two years.

By John Little

SUKKUR, Pakistan, July 29 (Compass Direct News) – A dozen masked men shot five Christians to death as they came out of their church building here on July 15, two months after a banned Islamic extremist group sent church leaders a threatening letter, relatives said.

  Pastor Aaron John and church members Rohail Bhatti, Salman John, Abid Gill and Shamin Mall of Full Gospel Church were leaving the church building after meeting to discuss security in light of the threats they had received, said the pastor’s son, Shahid John.

   “As we came out of the church, a group of a dozen armed gunmen came and opened fire at us,” said Shahid John, who survived a bullet in his arm. “Fear struck the area. The police arrived 45 minutes after the incident, and we waited for over 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.”

   Besides Shahid John, five others were wounded in the attack.

  May church leaders received a letter from Islamic extremist group Sip-e-Sahaba (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba until it was banned) warning the Christians to leave the area, said Kiran Rohail, wife of the slain Rohail Bhatti.

   “It said to vacate the land, Christians are not welcomed here, they are polluting our land,” Kiran Rohail said.

   The Sip-e-Sahaba and Sunni Tehrik extremist groups are both linked with an area madrassa (Islamic school) whose students had been threatening the church since 2008, Christian sources said.

  “In 2008 a group of Muslim students started making threats for the church to vacate the land, as there are only 55 Christian families living in the area,” said the pastor’s widow, Naila John, who also lost her son Salman John in the attack.

  The masked gunmen of July 15 had young physiques like those of students, Christian sources said, and their manner of attack indicated they were trained extremists.

  The madrassa students that have threatened the church since 2008 belong to the Sunni Tehrik extremist group, the sources said.

  Pastor John and Bhatti had reported the threats of the past two years to police, but officers at the local station did not take them seriously, said Naila John.

  When they received the threatening letter in May, Pastor John, his son Salman, Bhatti, Gill, Mall and another member of the church, Arif Gill, went to the police station to register a First Information Report (FIR), according to Shahid John.

  “Police just took the application but didn’t register the FIR,” he said. “The station house officer just provided two police constables for security.”

  On the evening of July 15, the pastor called a meeting to discuss needed security measures, his widow Naila John said. The meeting ended around 7:30 p.m., when they left the building and were sprayed with gunfire.

  “No FIR has been registered due to the pressure from the local Islamic groups,” said Kiran Rohail, referring to Sunni Tehrik, Sip-e-Sahaba and the local mosque. “The police came and took our statements, but they didn’t show up again.”

  An independent government source confirmed the shooting deaths of the Christians, adding that local Islamist pressure had prevented media from reporting on it.

  The church began in 1988, and Pastor John had been leading it since 2001.

  Sukkur, in southwest Pakistan’s Sindh Province, has been the site of previous violence against Christians. Last June or July, area Christians said, students from the local madrassa beat Pastor Adnan John of Multan, severely injuring him, after they saw him walking in front of the mosque wearing a cross and holding a Bible. In another instance, the Muslim students prevented Christian students from holding a Christmas program at a park.

  In 2006, some 500 Muslims burned down two churches in Sukkur and a convent school on Feb. 19, reportedly over rumors that a Christian threw a copy of the Quran into a trash can. A crowd wielding gasoline bombs torched St. Mary’s Catholic Church and St. Savior’s Church of Pakistan after media and government sources floated the rumor, but local sources said the violence occurred after a Muslim was arrested for burning pages of the Quran and trying to frame his Christian father-in-law, Saleem Gill, with the deed.

  After torching the inside of St. Savior’s, the mob turned on Pastor Ilyas Saeed Masih’s home, then went five minutes away to destroy the 120-year-old St. Mary’s edifice.

 

3. Summary:

KARACHI, Pakistan, July 26 (Compass Direct News) – A Catholic nurse trainee has regained consciousness after a Muslim doctor allegedly raped her and threw her from a hospital’s fourth-floor window this month. The third-year student nurse told media and rights groups that on July 13 several Muslim men, led by Dr. Abdul Jabbar Meammon, beat and raped her, and then threw her from the window of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) to keep her from revealing the abuse. Meammon, who had taken over a room in the all-female wing of the hospital, has a history of abusing Christian nurses, a hospital administrator said. Dr. Seemi Jamali, chief of JPMC’s Emergency Department, told Compass that Meammon had been suspended from the hospital seven times for drinking alcohol on the job and other misbehavior, and that he was drunk when he assaulted Ashraf. A medico-legal officer at the hospital who carried out autopsies, Meammon was forcibly occupying a room in the women-only wing of the doctors’ hostel, Jamali said. She added that Meammon is an influential figure backed by a leading political party in Karachi. The young woman, Magdalene Ashraf, was unconscious for 56 hours as surgeons fought for her life at the intensive care unit of JPMC and is still in critical condition. Police have charged Meammon and his accomplices with attempted murder, but Christian organizations are urging police to file gang-rape charges. He added that police have also arrested Dr. Ferhat Abbas and another doctor identified only as Tayyab. Dr. Donald Mall, an administrator with Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, told Compass that there “are hundreds of rape cases of Christian nurses by doctors which go unreported in Pakistan,” and that the Sindh Province Health Department has ignored them.

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Christian Nursing Student Nearly Dies from Assault in Pakistan

She charges Muslim doctors threw her from hospital window after gang-rape.

By Thomas Kelly and John Little

KARACHI, Pakistan, July 26 (Compass Direct News) – A Catholic nurse trainee has regained consciousness after a Muslim doctor allegedly raped her and threw her from a hospital’s fourth-floor window this month.

  The student nurse told media and rights groups that on July 13 several Muslim men, led by Dr. Abdul Jabbar Meammon, beat and raped her, and then threw her from the window of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) to keep her from revealing the abuse.

  Meammon, who had taken over a room in the all-female wing of the hospital, has a history of abusing Christian nurses, a hospital administrator said. Dr. Seemi Jamali, chief of JPMC’s Emergency Department, told Compass that Meammon had been suspended from the hospital seven times for drinking alcohol on the job and other misbehavior, and that he was drunk when he assaulted Ashraf.

  A medico-legal officer at the hospital who carried out autopsies, Meammon was forcibly occupying a room in the women-only wing of the doctors’ hostel, Jamali said. She added that Meammon is an influential figure backed by a leading political party in Karachi.

The third-year student nurse, Magdalene Ashraf, was unconscious for 56 hours as surgeons fought for her life at the intensive care unit of JPMC and is still in critical condition. On July 19 she gave a statement to police that has not been released. Later that day she spoke to media and a lawyer from the Christian Lawyers’ Foundation (CLF), saying several men took hold of her at 4:30 p.m. on July 13, and after abusing her for several hours threw her from the window.

  Ashraf said that fellow nurse Sajjad Fatima tricked her into going into Meammon’s room by telling Ashraf that he wanted to talk with her about a grade on a class assignment. When she arrived, she told media and the CLF, another doctor and Meammon’s driver were also present, and that Meammon grabbed her.

  “When I resisted and tried to escape, nurse Fatima slapped both my cheeks and pushed me into Dr. Jabbar,” Ashraf said. “I cried out but no one arrived there to rescue me. They not only gang-raped me, they also tortured me physically and ruthlessly beat me.”

  She dismissed claims by Meammon that she jumped out the window.

  “If I had jumped myself, my legs would have been fractured, and I would not have had injuries to my head, brain and shoulders,” she said.

  Khalid Gill, head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance in Punjab Province, told Compass that Meammon had a history of sexually harassing female Christian students at the teaching hospital.

  Gill and the Rev. Azher Kaleem, general secretary of the Christian Lawyers’ Foundation (CLF), said that after Ashraf was thrown out the window, Meammon also jumped down in order to portray himself as innocent, claiming people trying to harm him were pursuing him as well. His hip injury from the jump was treated at the better-equipped Agha Khan Hospital, where he was hand-cuffed and his feet shackled before being transferred to a holding cell to face charges.

  The Rev. Khadim Bhutto of advocacy organization Gawahi Mission Trust told Compass that he had the opportunity to speak with Meammon. According to Bhutto, Meammon said that he was relaxing in his room when Magdalene ran in followed by five unidentified men, from whom both of them eventually fled.

  Bhutto said that Meammon was grinning about the incident as he told his version, seemingly pleased with what he had done.

  The pastor said police have only charged Meammon and his accomplices with attempted murder, but that Christian organizations are urging police to file gang-rape charges. He added that police have also arrested Dr. Ferhat Abbas and another doctor identified only as Tayyab and are holding them at an undisclosed location.

  A preliminary medical examination indicated that Ashraf was raped and tortured, said Natasha Riaz, a fourth-year nursing student.

  “The swabs taken from her have confirmed that she was raped, and apart from Dr. Meammon, five other men were also involved,” Riaz said.

  One of Ashraf’s family members told Compass that they have continued to receive threats from Meammon; the relative also said that Ashraf had complained of being harassed by him.

  Dr. Donald Mall, an administrator with Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, told Compass after visiting the victim that there “are hundreds of rape cases of Christian nurses by doctors which go unreported in Pakistan,” and that the Sindh Province Health Department has ignored them.

  Police sources told Compass that they are searching for Fatima, the nurse who is an alleged accomplice of the alleged rapists, and Meammon’s driver, identified only as Arshad, both still at large. Police said that when they arrived at the hospital, administrators stalled them long enough for Fatima to escape.

  Since the assault, Christians have staged several demonstrations against religiously motivated violence such as the alleged assault on Ashraf and the July 19 murder of the Rev. Rashid Emmanuel and his brother Sajid Emmanuel, who were accused under Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws. The latest demonstrations took place in Karachi on Saturday (July 24), Sargodha the next day and in Lahore today.

4. Summary:

FAISALABAD, Pakistan, July 19 (Compass Direct News) – Today suspected Islamic extremists shot dead two Christians accused here of “blasphemy.” Armed gunmen shot the Rev. Rashid Emmanuel, 32, and his 30-year-old brother Sajid Emmanuel days after handwriting experts on Wednesday (July 14) notified police that signatures on papers denigrating Muhammad did not match those of the accused. Expected to be exonerated, the two leaders of United Ministries Pakistan were being led in handcuffs under police custody back to jail when they were shot at 2:17 p.m., according to Rizwan Paul, president of advocacy group Life for All. “Five armed, masked men attacked and opened fire on the two accused,” Paul said. “Sajid died on the spot,” while Rashid Emmanuel died later.” Christian Lawyers’ Foundation President Khalid Gill said the two bodies bore cuts and other signs of having been tortured, including marks on their faces, while the brothers were in police custody. Muslims staged large demonstrations in the past week calling for the death penalty for the brothers, who were arrested when Rashid Emmanuel agreed to meet a mysterious caller at a train station but was instead surrounded by police carrying papers denigrating Muhammad – supposedly signed by the pastor and his brother and bearing their telephone numbers. The Muslim who allegedly placed the anonymous call to the pastor, Muhammad Khurram Shehzad, was the same man who filed blasphemy charges against Emmanuel and his brother and was already present at the Civil Lines police station when the pastor and an unnamed Christian arrived in handcuffs, said Atif Jamil Pagaan, coordinator of the Harmony Foundation advocacy group. The shooters escaped, and Punjab’s inspector general has reportedly suspended the superintendent of police and deputy superintendent police for their failure to provide security for the slain brothers.

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Christians Accused of ‘Blasphemy’ Slain in Pakistan

Two leaders shot outside courtroom after handwriting report threatened to exonerate them.

By Thomas Kelly and John Little

FAISALABAD, Pakistan, July 19 (Compass Direct News) – Today suspected Islamic extremists outside a courthouse here shot dead two Christians accused of “blaspheming” Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

  The armed gunmen shot the Rev. Rashid Emmanuel, 32, and his 30-year-old brother Sajid Emmanuel, days after handwriting experts on Wednesday (July 14) notified police that signatures on papers denigrating Muhammad did not match those of the accused. Expected to be exonerated soon, the two leaders of United Ministries Pakistan were being led in handcuffs back to jail under police custody when they were shot at 2:17 p.m., Christians present said.

  Rizwan Paul, president of advocacy group Life for All, said five armed, masked men opened fire on the two Christians amid crowds outside Faisalabad District and Sessions Court.

  “Five armed, masked men attacked and opened fire on the two accused,” Paul said. “Sajid died on the spot,” while Rashid Emmanuel died later.

  Rai Naveed Zafar Bhatti of the Christian Lawyers’ Foundation (CLF) and Atif Jamil Pagaan, coordinator of Harmony Foundation, said an unknown assailant shot Sajid Emmanuel in the heart, killing him instantly, and also shot Rashid Emmanuel in the chest. Pagaan said Sub-Inspector Zafar Hussein was also shot trying to protect the suspects and was in critical condition at Allied Hospital in Faisalabad.   

  CLF President Khalid Gill said the bodies of the two Christians bore cuts and other signs of having been tortured, including marks on their faces, while the brothers were in police custody.

  As news of the murders reached the slain brothers’ neighborhood of Dawood Nagar, Waris Pura, Faisalabad, Christians came out of their homes to vent their anger, Pagaan said. Police fired teargas cannons at Christian protestors, who in turn threw stones.

  “The situation is very tense,” Gill said. “Police have arrested eight people for damaging property and burning tires.”

Paul of Life for All said tensions remained high.

 “The situation in Faisalabad has deteriorated,” Paul said. “Indiscriminate shootings between Christians and Muslims have ensued. The situation has become very volatile, and local police

have initiated a curfew.”

  The courthouse shooters escaped, and Punjab’s inspector general has reportedly suspended the superintendent of police and his deputy superintendent for their failure to provide security to the slain brothers.

  Lynch Mob Mentality

The report by handwriting experts to Civil Lines police station in Faisalabad presented a major setback to the case filed against Emmanuel and his younger brother under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy laws.

  Muslims staged large demonstrations in the past week calling for the death penalty for the brothers, who were arrested when Rashid Emmanuel agreed to meet a mysterious caller at a train station but was instead surrounded by police carrying photocopied papers that denigrated Muhammad – supposedly signed by the pastor and his brother and bearing their telephone numbers.

  The Muslim who allegedly placed the anonymous call to the pastor, Muhammad Khurram Shehzad, was the same man who filed blasphemy charges against Emmanuel and his brother and was already present at the Civil Lines police station when the pastor and an unnamed Christian arrived in handcuffs, said Pagaan of Harmony Foundation. Civil Lines police station is located in Dawood Nagar, Waris Pura, in Faisalabad.

  Pagaan said that on July 1 Rashid Emmanuel received an anonymous phone call from a man requesting to see him, but the pastor declined as he was due to lead a prayer service in Railways Colony, Faisalabad. After the service, Emmanuel received a call at about 8 p.m. from the same man, who this time described himself as a respectable school teacher.

  Pagaan said that Emmanuel agreed to meet him at the train station, accompanied by the unnamed Christian. As they reached the station, Civil Lines police surrounded them, showed them photocopies of a three-page document and arrested them for blaspheming Muhammad. 

  Sources told Compass that police released the young, unnamed Christian after a couple hours, and on July 4 officers arrested Emmanuel’s younger brother, a graduate student of business.

  On July 10 and 11 hundreds of enraged Muslims paraded to the predominantly Christian colony of Dawood Nagar calling for the immediate death of the two Christian brothers. Some chanted, “Hang the blasphemers to death immediately,” sources said, adding that the mob hurled obscenities at Christ, Christians and Christianity.

  Islamic extremists led the protests, and most participants were teenagers who pelted the main gate of the Waris Pura Catholic Church with stones, bricks and shards of glass and pounded the gate with bamboo clubs. 

  Some 500 protestors gathered on July 10, while on July 11 more than 1,600 demonstrated, according to Joseph Francis, head of Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement. Fearful Christians locked their homes, while others fled the area, as the demonstrators had threatened a repeat of the violence wreaked on Korian and Gojra towns in July and August 2009.

  Nazim Gill, a resident of Waris Pura, told Compass that Muslims burned tires and chanted slogans against Christians last week, and that on Friday (July 16) announcements blared from mosque loudspeakers calling on Muslims “burn the houses of Christians.”

  Khalid Gill contacted authorities to request help, and police forbid anyone to do any damage.

Saying “continuous gunshots have been heard for the past five hours now,” Kashif Mazhar of Life for All today said that Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif had ordered the provincial inspector general to restore law and order and arrest the murderers of the Christian brothers.

Other Victims

Khurram Shehzad had filed the blasphemy case on July 1 under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which are commonly abused to settle personal scores.

   Section 295-C states that “whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shall be punishable with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall be liable to fine.”

Section 295-A of the blasphemy laws prohibits injuring or defiling places of worship and “acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class of citizens.” Section 295-B makes willful desecration of the Quran or a use of its extract in a derogatory manner punishable with life imprisonment.

  Khalid Gill said Khurram Shehzad, a merchant of Rail Bazar, Faisalabad, filed the charge after his servant told him that the two Christians had put up blasphemous posters at a truck station.

  The Emmanuel brothers had been running United Ministries Pakistan for the last two years in Dawood Nagar, area Christians said.

  The last known Christian to die as a result of a false blasphemy charge was Robert Danish on Sept. 15, 2009. The 22-year-old Christian was allegedly tortured to death while in custody in Sialkot on a charge of blaspheming the Quran. Local authorities claimed he committed suicide.

  Area Christians suspect police killed Danish, nicknamed “Fanish” or “Falish” by friends, by torturing him to death after the mother of his Muslim girlfriend contrived a charge against him of desecrating Islam’s scripture. The allegation led to calls from mosque loudspeakers to punish Christians, prompting an Islamic mob to attack a church building in Jathikai village on Sept. 11 and the beating of several of the 30 families forced to flee their homes. Jathikai was Danish’s native village.

  Three prison officials were reportedly suspended after Danish died in custody.

  In other recent blasphemy cases, on July 5 a Christian family from Model Town, Lahore, fled their home after Yousaf Masih, his wife Bashrian Bibi and their son-in-law Zahid Masih were accused of blaspheming the Quran. Some 2,000 Muslims protested and tried to burn their house, Christian sources aid.

  Police have filed a case against them due to pressure from Muslim mobs, but local sources say the allegations grew out of personal enmity.

  Faisalabad was the site of the suicidal protest of Bishop John Joseph. The late Roman Catholic bishop of Faisalabad took his own life in May 6, 1998 to protest the injustice of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

5. Summary:

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, July 15 (Compass Direct News) – Suspected Islamic extremists fired bullets into the car of a Christian evangelist with impunity last month, while in another Punjab Province town stray gunfire led to two Christians being falsely accused of murder. Following a youth revival in Essa Nagri, near Faisalabad, the Rev. Kamran Pervaiz was in the passenger seat of a Toyota Corolla returning to Faisalabad with his team on June 25 when 12 armed men tried to stop their car, the pastor said. The rear window suddenly broke to pieces as bullets pierced the car. The driver turned into a field and turned off the engine, and the assailants sped past. Pervaiz said they were targeted because of their involvement in the Christian revival meeting; Muslim groups had warned the Christians to abort the meeting after banners and posters were displayed across Essa Nagri. At Ghulam Muhammad Abad police station in Faisalabad, Acting Superintendent Shabir Muhammad declined to register a First Information Report on the attack due to pressure from local Muslim groups, he said. “I am trying to register the FIR, but the things are out of my control at higher levels,” Muhammad told Compass. In Gujrat, by contrast, police soon arrested two young Christian men after shots fired into the air by a drunken man killed a neighbor. Saleem Masih, 22, and John Masih, 23, were falsely accused of robbery as well as murder, a later police investigation found, and they were released. Their employer, Chaudhry Ashraf Gondal, had become inebriated along with friend Chaudhry Farhan on June 18, and Farhan fired gunshots into the air for fun, killing Malik Sajid, said senior superintendent of police operations officer Raon Irfan. “Ashraf bribed the SHO to arrest someone else and file charges of robbery and murder,” Irfan said.

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Christians Narrowly Escape Flying Bullets in Pakistan

Evangelistic team cheats death; separately, stray gunshot leads to false charges.

By John Little

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, July 15 (Compass Direct News) – Suspected Islamic extremists fired bullets into the car of a Christian evangelist with impunity last month, while in another Punjab Province town stray gunfire led to two Christians being falsely accused of murder.

  Following a youth revival in Essa Nagri, near Faisalabad, the Rev. Kamran Pervaiz, a guest speaker from Rawalpindi, was in the passenger seat of a Toyota Corolla returning to Faisalabad with his team on June 25 when 12 armed men tried to stop their car, the pastor said.

  Pastor Naeem Joseph, an organizer of the revival, was leading the ministry team by motorbike, and he led them past the armed men as they reached the Narawala Road bypass at about 1:15 a.m.

  “I didn’t stop,” Pastor Joseph told Compass. “A gunshot was fired at me, but it missed, and instead of going straight I turned right towards the Sudhar bypass and took the motorbike into the fields.”

  Pervaiz Sohtra was driving the car.

  “Rev. Kamran asked me to increase the speed,” Sohtra said. “The armed men shouted to stop and directly fired at the car. I saw from the rearview mirror that they were coming after us, and I told everyone to stay down.” The rear window suddenly broke to pieces as bullets pierced the car.

  “Pervaiz [Sohtra] turned off the lights and took the car into the fields and turned off the engine,” Kamran Pervaiz said. “The attackers drove by, near the road, without noticing the fields. No one was injured. We were all safe.”

  Pervaiz said he was certain that they were targeted because of their involvement in the Christian revival meeting; response to Pervaiz’s preaching jumped when a crippled man was healed after the evangelist prayed for him at the event. Muslim groups had warned the Christians to abort the meeting after banners and posters were displayed across Essa Nagri.

  “A local Muslim group tore the banners and threatened us, telling us not to organize the meeting or else we would face dire consequences,” said Salman John, one of the organizers.

  A police patrol responded to the ministry team’s emergency number phone call, reaching them in the field shortly before 2 a.m. and escorting Pervaiz and the others in their bullet-damaged car to Model Town, Faisalabad.

  Pastor Joseph filed an application for a First Information Report (FIR) at Ghulam Muhammad Abad police station in Faisalabad. Acting Superintendent Shabir Muhammad took the application but declined to register an FIR due to pressure from local Muslim groups, he said.

  “I am trying to register the FIR, but the things are out of my control at higher levels,” Muhammad told Compass.

 

False Arrest

  In Gujrat, by contrast, police soon arrested two young Christian men after shots fired into the air by a drunken man killed a neighbor.

  Cousins Saleem Masih, 22, and John Masih, 23, were falsely accused of robbery as well as murder, a later police investigation found, and they were released. Both worked at the farm of Chaudhry Ashraf Gondal, who became inebriated along with friend Chaudhry Farhan on June 18, according to Riaz Masih, father of Saleem Masih.

  “They were feasting and then got drunk and started firing gunshots into the air for fun, and one of the bullets hit a passer-by near their home, and he died on the spot,” Riaz Masih said.

  Yousaf Masih, father of John Masih, told Compass that when police arrived, Ashraf Gondal “gave them some money and asked them to take care of the matter.”

  On June 22, police went to Yousaf Masih’s house asking for Saleem and John Masih. When Yousaf Masih said they were at work and asked if everything was alright, the inspector told him that the two young men had robbed and murdered shopkeeper Malik Sajid on June 18 at about 11:30 p.m.

  “My son and Saleem came home around 6 p.m. and they didn’t go out after that,” Yousaf Masih told the officers. “On June 18 they were at home – they didn’t go out, so how could they murder Sajid?”

  Police went to Ashraf Gondal’s farm and arrested the two young Christians. When police told Ashraf Gondal that they had robbed and murdered Sajid, he replied that they were capable of such a crime as they often asked him for advances on their pay and “they even sell alcohol.” Alcohol is illegal for Muslims in Pakistan and can be sold only by non-Muslims with a license.

  Riaz Masih said he and Yousaf Masih rushed to Ashraf Gondal for help, but that he spoke harshly to them, saying, “Your sons have robbed and murdered an innocent person, and they even sell alcohol. Why should I help criminals, and especially Christian criminals?”

The two fathers went to the police station, where the Station House Officer (SHO) refused to allow them to meet with their sons. They went to Pastor Zaheer Latif.

  “I’ve known Saleem and John since they were small kids, and they could never rob or murder anyone,” Pastor Latif told Compass. “They were targeted because they are Christians. The SHO and Ashraf knew that these boys would not be able to prove themselves innocent.”

  The pastor referred the fathers to the senior superintendent of police operations officer Raon Irfan, who undertook an investigation. When he spoke with Ashraf Gondal, Irfan said, the landowner denied that Farhan had visited him on June 18.

  “I have read the inquiry report by the SHO,” Irfan told Compass. “I am aware of the fact that this SHO is a corrupt person, and it is clearly a false report.”

Irfan said that, after talking with villagers, he concluded that Farhan was with Ashraf Gondal in Gujrat on June 18, and that they shot into the air for fun and one of the bullets killed Sajid.

  “Ashraf bribed the SHO to arrest someone else and file charges of robbery and murder,” Irfan said. “Ashraf is an influential person, and he told the SHO to file the case against Saleem and John, as they are Christians and would not be able to prove themselves innocent.”

  Advocacy group Peace Pakistan filed an appeal of the false charges with the Gujrat Session Court on June 25. In light of Irfan’s report, Session Judge Muhammad Gulfam Malik on June 27 released Saleem Masih and John Masih and suspended the SHO for corruption and filing a false case.

  No action, however, was taken against Ashraf Gondal or Farhan. Police have not arrested either of them.

6. PAKISTAN: The Christian community in Punjab is under threat from extremist groups again; two brothers are illegally charged with blasphemy

ISSUE: Religious minorities; blasphemy law; threats; arbitrary detention

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that two Christian men are in imminent danger after they were arrested, without a legitimate investigation, for blasphemy. The police officers involved have not followed the penal code, which only allows such charges to be made after an investigation by the superintendent of police. Blasphemy can still be met with the death penalty in Pakistan.
 
Violent rallies by radical Muslims in the area have called for the men’s deaths, and Christians have reportedly begun to leave the neighbourhood. They fear that a new attack is planned for the end of the month, around the anniversary of a deadly attack on Christians 50km away in Korian village, Tehsil Gojra; six were set alight and burned to death. Mosque loudspeakers are also being freely used to incite the violence, which is illegal.
 
Immediate action must be taken to remove the men from danger, take up their case according to the laws and procedures of the country, and quell the rising tide of violence against the Christian community.

CASE NARRATIVE:

  Mr. Rashid Emmanuel, 32, is a pastor. On the evening of 2 July he received a telephone call from a man who claimed to be from the La Salle School, a prominent Christian educational centre. He asked to meet Mr. Rashid about an urgent matter at Zilla Council chowk (crossroads) in Faisalabad. When Rashid arrived later that evening he saw four persons standing in the dark; before ten uniformed police officers reportedly emerged and arrested him.
  He was taken to the Civil Lines Police Station nearby and shown a photocopy of a four-page handwritten pamphlet that criticized Islam and its last prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). The pamphlet appeared to be signed by Rashid and his younger brother Sajid Emmanuel, and instructed the reader to contact them for further information. It featured their cell phone numbers and national identity card numbers.
  The police detained Rashid and released a boy who they had mistakenly thought to be Rashid’s brother. The blasphemy complaint was filed by Mr. Mohammad Khurram Shehzad, a printer who reportedly declared that his assistant had seen a man distributing the pamphlets at Lari Adda, the city’s main bus terminus, on 1 July. Based on this information the police filed a First Information Report (FIR), a legal document for case proceeding in the court).
  However the blasphemy law was amended in 2004 specifically to avoid its abuse via baseless charges. As details below the blasphemy charge can still be met with the death penalty, yet it often arises amid neighbourhood vendettas. Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPP) now states that no case of blasphemy can be filed without the investigation of the superintendent of police.
  A representative of the Christian community – Mr. Atif Jamil Pagan, the Chief of Pakistan Minorities Democratic Harmony Foundation – contacted the police and was told by the SHO that a sub inspector and an assistant superintendent had been chosen for the investigation; he allegedly acknowledged that they were not complying with section 295C of the PPC because they were under pressure from extremist Muslim groups in the community. The sub inspector, a Mr. Mohammad Hessian, later told Atif that the accused was being detained without evidence against him because the case was a sensitive one.
  On 3 July we are told that the police took Rashid to the Anti Terrorist Court (ATC) for police remand, where the case was correctly refused. Religious matters are no longer under the authority of the ATC, as maintained in clause 780 of the Anti Terrorist Act (ATA) 1997. Rashid was taken to a duty magistrate in the Civil Lines jurisdiction, who agreed to his two-day remand in police custody, despite the breach of procedure.
  We are told that during this time the sub inspector summoned Atif Pagan to the police station and asked that he produce Rashid’s young brother. For his protection, Pagan arranged for Sajid to be handed to the police in the presence of Bishop Joseph Couetts of Faisalabad. The police then asked the brothers to handwrite each pamphlets three times. On 7 July the writing samples were sent to experts in Lahore, around 200km from Faisalabad, but the experts reportedly replied that they could not work from the photocopied pamphlets.
  During this time groups of organized Muslim activists started to rally against the brothers in public: we are told that the loudspeakers from a number of mosques were used illegally to do so, and to incite violence against local Christians (in breach, as noted below, of Section 3 of the Loud Speaker Act 1965). On 7 July a procession in Warispura saw local Muslim residents chanting threatening slogans against Christians; one chant called for the hanging of Rashid and Sajid, and we are informed that the mob attacked a Catholic Church, breaking its windows and doors. On 10 July persons in another procession burnt tires on the streets; a call went up declaring that Christians would not be allowed to live in Warispura. At 1am that night a procession of motorbikes took place, with riders allegedly harassing Christians who were leaving their homes with their belongings. The protestors announced that a meeting would be held at Ghanta Chowk on 11 July, a central gathering place for such rallies.
  We are told that the police began efforts to address the protestors on the evening of 10 July, and that after a number of meetings it was agreed that the rallies and threats should stop.
However protest gatherings continued on 11 July, and united into a large meeting at noon, at which Muslim leaders from various religious political parties, among them Khatme-e-Nabowat, Jamiat Ulema-ePakistan and Namoos-e-Risalat reportedly reiterated death threats against the brothers, because the government had not sentenced them to death. We are told that among the speakers were Sahibzada Abulkhair Mahumed Zubair and Syed Hidayat Hussain Shah, who are known for inciting violence in the area. At the meeting it was announced that a set of gallows had been set up at the tower of Ghanta Ghar (in the centre of Faisalabad), in preparation for the hanging of blasphemous Christians.
  We are told that the brothers remain in detention at the police station without adequate protection against mob violence. There are strong fears that they could be attacked. The men have reported that co-detainees are also threatening them. Immediate action must be taken to remove them from danger, provide strong state protection, take up their case according to the laws and procedures of the country, and quell the rising tide of violence against the Christian community.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  Almost a year ago six Christians, two of them women, were set alight and burned to death under similar circumstances just 50km away in Korian village, Tehsil Gojra, as reported in urgent appeal: A human rights activist faces terrorism charges for publicising the murder of Christians, while the mullahs who encouraged the violence remain free and mentioned again in: Newspaper advertisements call for the murder of a human rights lawyer in Punjab; police silently spectate. Houses were also set on fire. The Christian community in Wasapura is extremely concerned that a similar attack could be planned around the anniversary of the Gojra violence, on 31 July. With such incidents already proven to be possible, it is imperative that these concerns are acted on, and the greatest efforts are taken by the administration to protect these Pakistanis from potent ial attack, and reassure them of their security and their rights.
  Religious minority groups in Pakistan remain vulnerable due to the continued use and abuse of blasphemy charges, despite section 295C of the PPC. This must be strongly implemented if minorities are to be protected. Police who fail to follow the code and who operate under the directive of extremists in the community must face strong legal action. Charges of blasphemy are still met with the death penalty in Pakistan, and desecrating the Quran carries a life sentence.
  The AHRC is also aware of several recent cases in which mosques have used loud speakers to provoke anger against religious minorities. Section 3 of Loud Speaker Act 1965 bans all types of speeches other than Azan (the call to prayer) and the Friday sermon in Arabic. Charges must be taken against those who allow the mosques to be used illegally to incite violence.

7. PAKISTAN

MUSLIM BOYS ACCUSED OF RAPING CHRISTIAN GIRL

June 3 (Compass Direct News) – Forensic DNA results of semen samples in a sexual assault case show they match those of the Muslim boys a 14-year-old Christian girl accuses of raping her, according to advocacy organizations. The girl accuses Muhammad Noman and Muhammad Imran, both 17, of abducting her from her school in Kamboh colony, Lahore, in Punjab Province, on May 6 and drugging her prior to sexually assaulting her, according to Khalid Gill, president of the Christian Lawyers Foundation (CLF), and officials of the National Commission of Justice and Peace. The minor, who name was withheld, told the organizations that Noman and Imran gagged her, took her by motorbike to a place unknown to her and made her drink a beverage containing tranquilizers. The CLF’s Gill said the boys later left her on a road near the school’s main entrance. The girl’s father, Rehmat Masih, is deceased. After investigating, on May 9 Millat Park Police registered a case against Noman and Imran for abducting “with intent to commit adultery.” When Muslims commit crimes against Christians in Pakistan they commonly assume law enforcement officials will not prosecute, but the two boys were arrested on May 26.

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8. PAKISTAN

MUSLIMS ORDER CHRISTIANS TO LEAVE VILLAGE

June 7 (Compass Direct News) – The head of a Muslim village last week ordered 250 Christian families to leave their homes in Khanewal district, Punjab Province, local residents said. Abdul Sattar Khan, head of village No. 123/10R, Katcha Khoh, and other area Muslim residents ordered the expulsions after Christian residents objected too strenuously to sexual assaults by Muslims on Christian girls and women, said a locally elected Christian official, Emmanuel Masih. Most of the village’s Christian men work in the fields of Muslim land owners, while most of the Christian women and girls work as servants in the homes of Muslim families, said Rasheed Masih. The Muslim employers have used their positions of power to routinely sexually assault the Christian women and girls, whose complaints grew so shrill that four Christian men – Emmanuel Masih, Rasheed Masih, his younger brother Shehzad Anjum and Yousaf Masih Khokhar – sternly confronted the Muslims, only to be told that all Christians were to leave the village at once. Asked why they didn’t contact local Katcha Khoh police for help, Emmanuel Masih and Khokhar said that filing a complaint against Muslim village head Khan and other Muslims would only result in police registering false charges against them under Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy” statutes. That very fate befell two Christian couples in Gulshan-e-Iqbal town, Karachi, who had approached police with complaints against Muslims for falsely accusing them of blasphemy. On May 28, a judge directed Peer Ilahi Bakhsh police to file charges of desecrating the Quran against Atiq Joseph and Qaiser William after a mob of armed Islamists went through their home’s garbage looking for pages of the Islamic scripture among clean-up debris.

 

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9. PAKISTAN

CHRISTIAN WOMAN ABUSED, FORCED TO RESIGN ***

June 10 (Compass Direct News) – A Christian woman here said she has been falsely accused of theft, beaten, threatened with rape and forced to resign her job in a bid to keep her from obtaining full benefits as a regular government employee. Razia Bibi, a 38-year-old sanitation worker known as Rajji of village No. 47-NB (Northern Branch), was due to obtain regular status as a government employee at Aysha Girls’ Hostel at the University of Sargodha at the end of May. On May 7, however, Muslim office worker Safia Bibi accused her of stealing 10,000 rupees (US$120) from her cubicle – and when hostel warden Noshaba Bibi learned of it, she called female police officers and ordered them to beat her until she confessed, Rajji said. When she refused, she ordered male security guards to rape her. Her husband, Nayyer Aftab, arrived in time to spare her from rape by paying the amount of the allegedly stolen money, but the hostel warden forced Rajji to resign. “As I am a Christian, the Muslim hostel officers Safia and Noshaba wanted a Muslim regular employee after their hearts instead of me,” Rajji told Compass. Noshaba Bibi initially refused to comment on the allegation that she falsely accused the Christian woman of theft in order to provide a job to someone of her choice, but after repeated questioning by Compass she yelled, “Yes, I have done it, do whatever you want!” In a village in southern Punjab Province, meantime, Muslim extremists on Saturday (June 5) attacked Christians trying to construct a church building, and then got police to file charges against them for defending themselves, according to the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA). A club-wielding Muslim mob led by Muhammad Nazir Ahmed beat the Christians in village No. 184/9-L, in Cheechawatni of Sahiwal district, seriously injuring several of them, said Javed Akber Gill, APMA district coordinator in Sahiwal.

  *** Photos of Razia Bibi and Nayyer Aftab are available electronically. Contact Compass Direct News for pricing and transmittal.

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10. PAKISTAN

MUSLIMS KIDNAP, RAPE CHRISTIAN GIRL

June 16 (Compass Direct News) – Five Muslims here kidnapped and raped a Christian girl after threatening to kill her unless her father allowed one of them to marry her. Lazarus Masih said one of his three daughters, 14, was kidnapped on May 29 by five men identified only as Guddu, Kamran, Waqas, Adil and Ali. Police recovered her on June 6 in a raid on the home where she was being held, though the suspects escaped. Family members said the suspects took her to a house near Islamabad, where they gave her a drug that rendered her unconscious, and raped her. A medical report confirmed that she was given drugs and raped. “They threatened that if I don’t get her married to Guddu, they would kill her,” Masih said. “One of them said, ‘We attended an Islamic religious convention, and the speaker said if you marry a non-Muslim or rape a non-Muslim girl, you will get 70 virgins in heaven.” Devastated family members said the girl remained frightened and was not speaking to anyone. “It is such a shame that the religious leaders teach inhuman acts,” said the Rev. John Gill of Shamsabad Catholic Church. “This incident has ruined the life of an innocent child.”

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11. PAKISTAN

CHRISTIAN CHILD ABDUCTED, FORCED INTO BONDED LABOR

June 21 (Compass Direct News) – An 11-year-old Christian boy here is growing weak and ill from malnutrition from working in slave-like conditions for a Muslim landowner who kidnapped him and is forcing him to work off his family’s debts, his mother told Compass. Katherine Bibi said landowner Ashraf Cheema of Dhonikay village, Wazirabad, has offered her son better conditions and possibly cancellation of the debt if he will convert to Islam. Young Danish Masih works without break from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m., often in iron chains, on half a loaf of bread per day, according to Dawood Masih of the National Commission of Justice and Peace. The boy’s father and older brother had been working for Cheema to pay off a debt of 142,000 rupees (US$1,640), but their employer was neither paying their monthly wages nor deducting the amounts from their debt, said Emmanuel Berkat Gill of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. Cheema also extorted land worth 35,000 rupees (US$404) from the boy’s older brother, again without deducting the amount from their debt, and ransacked the family’s house in Ali Naggar village, stealing Katherine Bibi’s dowry worth 200,000 rupees (US$2,308), she and Gill said. The family decided to flee to Islamabad, 165 miles (102 miles) away, Katherine Bibi said, but 18 months ago Cheema found them and abducted Danish Masih. Contacted by Compass, Cheema said that no such boy works at his farm or fields, and that “someone must have misled you.” Besides the court recognition of the abduction, however, Gill and other credible sources assert that Danish Masih works from dawn to dusk under a sizzling summer sun without any break or meal.

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12. PAKISTAN

CHRISTIAN PROFESSOR BEATEN FOR REFUSING TO CONVERT

June 25 (Compass Direct News) – Muslim students attacked a Christian professor at the Peshawar University College this month after he refused their demand to convert to Islam, the instructor told Compass. Psychology professor Samuel John, a father of four who has been teaching at the college for 12 years, said that as he came out of his house on the campus of the private college at 8:30 a.m. on June 14, about 20 to 25 students rushed and assaulted him. When his wife learned what was happening she ran to help him, but the students beat her as well. Both John and his wife were rushed to Lady Reading hospital, where they were treated for their injuries, with John listed in critical condition. “I am still getting threats,” the professor told Compass. “They say, ‘Leave the university or accept Islam – if you don’t convert, we will kill your family.” Police have refused to register a First Information Report on the incident, he said. Separately, in Danna village in southern Punjab Province, Muslim administrators told three Christian students in the eighth grade to leave the school because they refused to convert to Islam. A new teacher of Islamic Studies at Government High School Danna urged students in his class, Sunil Masih, Shazia Masih and Nasir Naeem, to convert to Islam, the father of Sunil, Ejaz Masih, told Compass. The parents complained to the principal, who told them, under pressure from other teachers, to remove their children from the school, Masih said. The families have fled the area with their children.

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13. PAKISTAN

‘BLASPHEMY LAWS’ USED TO JAIL ELDERLY CHRISTIAN

June 29 (Compass Direct News) – A Muslim vying with a Christian for a parcel of land here has accused the elderly man of “blaspheming” Islam’s prophet Muhammad, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment, according to the Christian Lawyers’ Foundation (CLF). Jhumray police on June 19 arrested Rehmat Masih of village No. 165/RB Jandawali in Faisalabad district under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s controversial “blasphemy laws,” and he was sent to Faisalabad District Jail on judicial remand by Magistrate Muhammad Sajawal. Christian sources said Masih, who suffers from arthritis, is 85 years old, though the First Information Report against him lists his age as 73. The CLF’s Rai Navid Zafar Bhatti told Compass that hard-line Muslim Muhammad Sajjid Hameed filed the charges after learning that he would not be able to secure the Punjab Province land. CLF President Khalid Gill said local Christian residents led by Masih had applied to the Punjab government to secure the land for construction of a Christian residential area, and Hameed had applied for the same parcel for commercial projects. Masih had argued with Hameed and other Muslims about the Virgin Mary in April. Hameed has testified in court that Masih made derogatory remarks about Muhammad and Khadija, the first wife of the founder of the religion, Bhatti said. Gill said Masih has testified that he said nothing “humiliating” about Muhammad or Khadija. “I am not a blasphemer, nor I can think of such a sinister thing, which is against the teachings of Christ,” Masih testified, according to Gill.

 

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