“Pakistan’s minority Christian community leaders have demanded an inquiry into the alleged poisoning of nine Christian nurses by their Muslim colleagues at a government-run hospital in Karachi,” Deutsche Welle reports.
By Shamil Shams
3/8/2012 Pakistan (Deutsche Welle) – Pakistan’s minority Christian community leaders have demanded an inquiry into the alleged poisoning of nine Christian nurses by their Muslim colleagues at a government-run hospital in Karachi.
Earlier this week, nine Christian nurses fell sick after drinking tea which they claim had been poisoned at Karachi’s Civil Hospital. The nurses alleged they were deliberately poisoned by their colleagues because of their faith.
Some leaders of Pakistan’s Christian community suggested that the nurses were given poisoned tea because they were not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. However, Pakistani officials have denied the claims.
“The government has turned a blind eye to the persecution of minorities,” Michael Javed, a Christian and former member of the provincial assembly told the media. “Our girls are being (forcibly) converted and our churches are being attacked,” said Javed, who has demanded an impartial judicial inquiry of the incident.
Rights organizations report widespread legal and cultural discrimination against minorities in Pakistan.
Last week, a 20-year-old Hindu boy, who goes by the name of Sunil, was shown being officially converted to Islam on a live TV show aired by the ARY Digital, a private TV channel. It was a special live transmission marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Though the conversion of Hindus and Christians is not a new phenomenon in the Islamic republic, it was the first time it was presented live on TV in Pakistan and some observers speculated that he was forcefully converted.
Abdul Hai, official of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said the poisoning of Christian nurses was not an isolated incident.
“A large number of nurses are Christians and are (already) subjected to ill-treatment and prejudice (in Pakistani hospitals),” he told the media.