10/25/2018 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Authorities in Pakistan suspended the head teacher of the Government Boys Primary School of District Attock, Punjab Province for assaulting a Christian student and abusing that student’s mother. The incident is just another example of the extreme discrimination Pakistani Christians suffer due to their religious identity.
The incident started when Sharjeel Masih, a 12-year-old Christian student, touched a water tap in the presence of Nusrat Shaheen, a Muslim teacher.
“I was just trying to turn off a running tap when the teacher grabbed me, called me churha (a derogatory term used for Christians) and asked why I had touched the tap and made it filthy. ‘This tap is not from the country of your mother,’ she said before abusing me. I had to sit outside the school for five hours,” Sharjeel to UCA News in an interview.
Following the assault, Sharjeel was suspended from school.
The next day, Sharjeel and his mother returned to the school to apologize for any mistake they had committed. “She [Nusrat Shaheen] asked me to grab her feet for the mistake of my son and threatened that her brother, a police officer, would sell my younger daughter to a brothel,” Farzana Ejaz, Sharjeel’s mother, told UCA News.
The incident was reported to Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari, who took immediate action and had Nusrat Shaheen suspended. Mazari also open up an investigation into the incident. In reaction, Mazari tweeted the case involved “horrific discrimination” against a child and that “even one such case is one too many.”
Discrimination against Christians in Pakistan is widespread and extreme. Due to its pervasiveness in Pakistani society, Christians are relegated to the country’s worst professions, such as sewer workers and street sweepers, and live in poor Christian ghettos.
At times, this discrimination can explode into larger instances of persecution. The blasphemy case against Asia Bibi is an example of this. The blasphemy accusation against Bibi was instigated by her Muslim coworkers who became upset that Bibi, a Christian, had touched the communal water bowl.
For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].