Rescuing and serving persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent

10/20/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Earlier this month, a school headmaster from Pakistan’s Christian minority was beaten by his Muslim colleagues in Phool Nagar, Kasur district located 35 miles outside of Lahore, the provincial capital. The assailants reason for the attack? Someone they considered untouchable, a Christian, was promoted to a position of authority above them

Saddique Azam, age 48, has been the headmaster of the government-affiliated school since 2009. According to Azam, the events leading up to his ordeal began when a Muslim teacher in the school he oversees, Muhammad Javaid, was absent from work for two days. This unexcused absence prompted his administrative officer to request a letter of explanation.

On October 1, Javaid appeared in Azam’s office requesting he write Javaid a falsified letter excusing the absences. Azam refused to provide Javaid with the letter, causing Javaid to become extremely upset and threatened Azam as he stormed out of the headmaster’s office.

On October 5, Javaid reappeared in Azam’s office, only this time Javaid was accompanied by five other individuals. Without warning, Javaid and his accomplices began to beat the Christian headmaster. They brutally attacked Azam, shouting hateful and violent slogans against him, questioning how a “Chura” an untouchable Christian in an Islamic culture, could hold a key post in an academic institution. The attackers only stopped when other teachers from the school intervened and called the police.

As a result of the attack, Azam had to be hospitalized for a day and continues to receive threatening messages from the attackers. The police have reportedly released Javaid and his accomplices because of a phone call by a local political activist.

Azam shared his feelings with International Christian Concern (ICC) stating, “I am afraid for my job, my life and my children’s security. They have threatened that they will teach me a “lesson” and never allow me to go back to my workplace.”

Pointing to his injured eye, Azam said, “Even the police are reluctant in providing security to me. I have not done anything wrong but even then I have to suffer for my Christian values in this society.

Speaking with ICC, Gerald Aneel, a music teacher at another school, said, “We [Christians] are not treated equal in this country. We are facing discrimination and hatred. Muslims never accept our skills and abilities. They want to keep us in the lowest positions. They have no respect for us, nor do they consider us their country-fellows.

Azam has submitted further written complaints to the District Police Officer, District Coordination Officer and Executive District Officer-Education regarding the assault and the release of his assailants; however, no further action has been taken.

In Pakistan, religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Ahmedis, are often relegated to the lowest rungs of society. As part of the discrimination, work places often reserve the filthiest jobs for only non-Muslims. For many Christians in Pakistan, it is very difficult to find consistent work outside of being a day laborer, domestic servant, or street sweeper, often considered the lowest job an individual can have. Last month, the Punjab Department of Health exemplified this form of discrimination in the local newspapers by limiting employment opportunities for non-Muslims to only the lowly station of sanitary workers.

In the few cases, such as in Azam’s case, where a Christian or any non-Muslim is promoted to a key post, they are not fully accepted by their colleagues or given adequate room to perform their duties effectively. More needs to be done to guarantee the rights and safety of Christians and other religious minorities in the workplace in Pakistan.