ASSIST News Service (ANS) Saturday, May 8, 2010 By Jawad Mazhar Correspondent for ANS, reporting from Pakistan

SARGODHA, PAKISTAN— Shocking news has just come out that on the Easter Sunday (April 4, 2010), ten Christian men were beaten by rich and powerful fundamentalist Muslims in Sargodha, located in Pakistan’s Punjab province, and then, despite being severely injured, were booked by the local police. 

‘The biggest precedent of injustice served on Pakistani Christian Citizens,’ says Christian leader

According to news given to ANS by Farrukh Tanvir, President of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) Youth Wing of the Sargodha region, the Christians had protested about the way some local Muslims had abused, scorned, mocked, called pejorative names and about hearing obscene language used against Christian women and girls going to the Easter Sunday Service at the Catholic Church of the Virk Colony, near Chak # 48-SB, Sargodha, by local Muslims.

Tanvir, talking to ANS in an exclusive interview, said that on the morning of Easter Sunday, jubilant Christian girls, women, men and children dressed in new clothes were going to attend the service at the only Catholic church of the Virk colony.

He said that a gang of “radical local Muslim youths of the Faqira clan” were standing in the way of the Christians going into the church and they started “playing pranks” with the congregants and hurled insults at them for “being Christians and celebrating the Easter Festival”.Tanvir said their comments became “perverted” towards the Christian girls and women and even “flirted” with them.

The Muslim men also called the Christians by the derogatory name “Choohra”, a frequently used Punjab language word meaning sanitary worker used by Muslims to insult Christians.

Tanvir maintained that some of the Christian youths “peacefully requested the fanatic Muslim men” to stop mocking the Christian, but then resulted in them to arm themselves with clubs and attacked the Christian youths leaving some of them “critically injured” and rushed to a private clinic for treatment and then were taken to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Sargodha for treatment.

If that wasn’t enough, Tanvir said that the Muslims then went to the local police station and submitted an application to lodge a case against ten of the Christian men, despite the fact that some of them were seriously injured and hospitalized.

He added that the police then arrested and took them to the police station to be charged and then transported them to the Sargodha District Jail under “judicial remand”.

ANS was apprised by APMA that all ten Christians were provided with pro bono legal support by the APMA lawyers and were granted bail on April 22nd after posting bail bonds worth PKRS 50,000.00 (USD 606.45 approx) each and set at liberty by the court.

Tahir Naveed Chaudhary, Sargodha region’s APMA head and Christian provincial legislator of Punjab, censured what he called “this lamentable show-down” and said that a handful of radical elements or miscreants were “defaming, stigmatizing and belittling the name of Pakistan worldwide.”

Chaudhary declared it to be “the biggest precedent of injustice served on Pakistani Christian Citizens”.

Well placed local Christian sources, asking for anonymity, informed ANS that the “rich, powerful and politically dominant radical Muslim men of the Faqira clan” were still “hurling death threats and threats of dire consequences on the impoverished Christian families of the Virk Colony, and added that the Christians there were “still living under the shade of death of horror.”



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