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Muslims Attack Christian Man’s House Over Blasphemy Case Row
Police arrest at least 12 Christians under the garb of ‘safety’

By Jawad Mazhar

04/19/2011 Pakistan (ANS)-An angry Muslim mob attacked the house of a Christian man over a blasphemy case dispute at Aziz Colony in Gujranwala, a Pakistani city in Punjab province, on Sunday, April 17. 2011.

The Rev Eric Isaac, a local clergyman, and Abid Saaid Gill, a political worker with the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), have told ANS what had occurred in this latest attack on Christians in this country.

The trouble began, they said, was when Mushtaq Gill, a Christian instructor at the Christian Technical Training Center, and his son, Farrukh, who works in a local bank, were implicated in what appears to be a fake blasphemy case.

Abid Saaid Gill alleged that unknown Muslim men had thrown burnt papers in the front yard of the house of Mushtaq Gill, and then claimed that these were burnt pages of the Quran and started a blasphemy case against the father and son.

But now the local Jinnah Road City Police Station has released Mushtaq, but they have kept his son Farrukh in the lock-up, even though there is still no official case.

This apparently sparked a protest rally on April 15, 2011, when a group of Muslims headed by clerics demanded that the father be re-arrested and install the blasphemy case against the father and son.

Rev. Isaac, who runs a school at the same locality, alleged that on April 16th, Muslims once again held a protest procession, but this time instead of merely chanting slogans or delivering speeches, a Muslim gang from the “Changar” (vagrants) clan, invaded the house of a Christian man.

The minister said, “They barbarically thrashed the man and his entire family member including his daughters and daughters-in-law.”

Abid Saaid Gill told ANS later that the Superintendent of Police, instead of taking the Muslim perpetrators into custody, arrested 12 Christians including Mushtaq Gill, the Rev. Eric Isaac and his family members, APMA workers, Abid Rafiq, Atiq Bhatti, Waris Khan, and also some APMA volunteers.

Abid Saaid Gill said they were all taken to the Satellite Town Police Station, and on inquiry, the police officer claimed he had only arrested them “to save their lives.”

Now, in a bid to settle this situation, an inter-faith committee has been formed to discuss and resolve the row. It consists of ten people, including four Christian clergymen, four Muslim clerics, and two police officers.