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Mar-14-2013 17:23printcomments

Pakistani Christians Have No Right to Protest Misuse of Blasphemy Law

Hundreds of Pakistani Christians become homeless in Badami Bagh, Lahore.

Homes burning in Joseph Colony
Homes burning in Joseph Colony

(ISLAMABAD) - 200 homes in Joseph Colony were turned to ashes and poor Christians are sitting in the streets, looking for food and trying to meet their needs. Their children haven't attended school or colleges since last Friday.

They are helpless and unable to do anything for themselves, while Christians around the country stood to become their voice but were severely beaten by police in Youhanabad and Kot Lakhpat, Lahore. There were protests in Islamabad/Rawalpindi as well. But Muslims of Jhelam city threatened to burn the Christians' home like Joseph Colony Lahore, when they went to protest to show solidarity with other Christians.

Basharat Khokhar

According to sources, on March 12, 2013, when Christians of Jhelam city went to protest against the violence in Joseph Colony, chanting slogans “Repeal Blasphemy Law” and “Blasphemy law is Black Law”, the Islamists called out through mosque loudspeakers to gather to punish the Christians who called the Blasphemy law a black law during the protest. The radical Muslims pressured area police at the local station to lodge a First Investigation Report – FIR under 295-C PPC under blasphemy law against Christians who chanted slogans against the blasphemy law.

Basharat Khokhar, a human rights activist, said that there were around 26 Christian families living among Muslim masses, since the partition. Local Christians arranged the protest to show their solidarity with Christians of Joseph Colony, Lahore, and Mr. George Masih led the protest rally.

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Before conducting the protest, the group attained permission from the District Police Officer (DPO) who provided them security. There were 250 people in the protest rally.

The next day, Muslims demanded that the police arrest George Masih and register an FIR against him. The situation became tense in the city but fortunately the administration involves the both religious leaderships and Joseph Francis from CLAAS intervened to solve the issue.

There is another mishap, according to Pastor Naeem Bhadhar, a Presbyterian missionary living in a village Kalaswala, on Pasroor Road, in the Sialkot district, 140 km away from Lahore city.

He told me on telephone that he had arranged a protest rally in their city but today on 14th March, 2013, when he was travelling back to his village, few radical Muslims from Jammat ut Dawa (a Muslim organization) severely beat him with sticks; they broke his motor bike.

He was injured and taken to the hospital where he received 3 stitches on his left arm. He was warned that if any one of the Christians came to protest, they will kill them.

This is how peace loving Muslims are treating Christians in Pakistan. It’s time to wake up and to raise our voice for their rights.

About Shamim Masih

"I am Christian rights activist and freelancer Pakistani journalist specializing in writing about Christians rights for the different papers in the world. My aim is to create a peaceful environment in the society and to help eliminate Christian persecution through my writing as I bring the plight of these brave people under the spotlight of the whole world."

Shamim Masih was born in Sheikhopura's village and raised in Gujranwala, a city in Pakistan's Punjab province. He earned his Bachelors Degree from the University of the Punjab, Lahore majoring in English, Economics and Statistics; he also received a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

As a freelance writer and author, Shamim has written for different papers in the world; his expertise is in writing articles highlighting different social issues. He has served as freelance chief reporter and column writer in “Minority Times” in Islamabad, and a number of Shamim's articles have been published in local papers as well.

You can write to Shamim at this address: shamimpakistan@gmail.com

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