Fear of mass attack: More than 250 Christian families flee from their homes in Southern Punjab

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MULTAN:  In excess of 250 Christian families have been threatened and forced to evacuate their homes in a village of Khanewal District.

 

Burnt houses of Christians in Chak 31
Burnt houses of Christians in Chak 31

 

In consistency with the details, in a village “Chak 31” of  Southern Punjab; Christians were harassed and therefore compelled to flee from their homes as the fear of mass attacks and arson struck them.

This incident “reflects the increase of violence and abuses against religious minorities in Pakistan” and “recalls the serious episode of the attack on Joseph Colony, a Christian area of Lahore, which happened two months ago,” a report sent to Fides Agency, maintains which has been compiled by two organizations of the civil society in Pakistan namely the “Human Rights Commission of Pakistan” and “Organization for Development and Peace” – actively involved in endorsing peace while defending human rights and fighting Human rights violation.

 

Despite the fact that Pakistani politicians are completely engrossed in the shaping the new government following the general elections, the two organizations have publicized a critical appeal “to all parties: politics, political parties, civil society, religious organizations, in order to operate actively to mitigate religious intolerance and promote social cohesion.” This appeal however was instigated “in the interests of the country and not only for the protection of the rights of minorities.

 

Every family hustled to flight by extremists comprised of about six people; consequently at this point in time homeless Christians number more than 1,500. The “run away” was the solution chosen to stay away from another mass destruction.

 

Seeing what was reported to Fides, the dispute was ignited over a provocation. About 15 days ago, some Muslims allegedly accused a Christian businessman, Asher Yaqoob, who owns a small grocery store, and his Christian customers of having insulting manner towards Islam, provoking the Muslims of the close by village, “Chak 30.”  Considering the seriousness of the matter, local Christians called the police, nevertheless a police officer, protected the aggressors instead, leading a mob of 60 Muslims who beat any person they come across at the same time destroyed homes and shops of Christians.

The conflicts continued and consequently, Asif Khan – one of the aggressors was hit by a shot which claimed his life. At the news of his death, the agitated multitude announced a massive assault while torched the entire Christian village. Subsequently, the Christian families were left with no other option other than to flee immediately. In these clashes 20 Christians have been detained by the police so far.

The two monitoring organizations – the HRCP and ODP informed the details of the scenario to the police in Multan consequently asking for the involvement of the Civil and Religious authorities to halt the clash, thus restoring peace between the two villages.