09/26/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on September 21, a group of Muslims looted and then burned a Christian family’s home and car in Gujar Khan, Pakistan. As the only Christian family in the neighborhood, they have faced repeated harassment and violence at the hands of their Muslim peers.
One of the victims, Fiaz Masih, told ICC, “An armed group of Muslims led by Muhammad Kamran intruded Bashir Masih’s house in daylight and thrashed the entire family.”
On September 20, Muhammad Kamran and his companions beat Fiaz’s elderly parents as they were cleaning the house. “My father got injuries and mother’s hand got fractured,” Masih explained. “Muhammad Kamran often threatened us to bear the consequences if we don’t leave the house. His abusive and threatening conversation is recorded on the mobile phone.”
“The attackers beat men, women, and children of the family and therefore some of us have severe injuries. They set fire to the house, including beds, furniture, sofa, cabinets, televisions, refrigerator, air-conditioners, fans, and vandalized vessels and other stuff,” he continued. “A new vehicle was set on fire and other valuables [including] cash money, jewelry, prize bonds, and mobile phones were looted.”
“The local police have registered the First Information Report # 504/18 against the culprits, however they have reportedly secured a Bail-Before-Arrest,” Masih added. “Our father, Bashir Masih, was a sanitary worker. He built this house a few years back, when he retired from his job, however Muslims could not bear that Christians would live in such a good, big, and furnished house.”
“We are the only Christian family in the neighborhood. They wanted to snatch our property. Therefore, they started threatening us to leave the house otherwise they will [accuse us of] committing blasphemy against Islam,” Masih continued.
Regarding a previous attack, he added, “This Muslim group did not like Christmas celebrations and therefore since we, the Christians, are vulnerable, they blocked the main street which leads to our house. In reaction we submitted an application to the police station against this blockage, but police did not listen to us and therefore the group attacked and beat our family members in January.”
While speaking with ICC, Chaudhry Shamoun Qasier, Chairman of the Union Council, expressed his shock over the series of recent attacks against Christians in Pakistan. He said, “It seems that persecution of Christians is at [a] high scale this year. The sad part of this development is the denial and cover-up of the police officers and successive governments.”
Qaiser hopes that the newly elected government will take protection measures seriously to ensure that religious minorities are treated as equal citizens.
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