“Convert or leave”: Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department succors unnerved Christians

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Christian residents of Sallik Town – a neighborhood of Faisalabad remain apprehensive and uncertain about their future as their rivals continue to hurl threats at them. Christians are being intimidated by locals demanding them to leave the neighborhood or “convert.” This squabble is a result of a communal dispute which sprang forth after a local Christian girl eloped with a Muslim boy of the neighborhood.

attack on churches in Faisalabad

After the escalating tensions were reported by Christians in Pakistan, Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department of the Punjab Government took notice of the incident. In this regard, the Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department of the Punjab Government directed the SSP Operations Faisalabad to investigate the matter and present a comprehensive report.

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At the same time, the City Police Officer (CPO) Faisalabad was also directed to take necessary action in this regard. However, local Christians complain of little progress as no inquiry report has been presented by Police officials who had been directed by the provincial government to investigate into the incident.

Pastor Shahid, in charge of the church in Salik Town stated that the harassers continue to intimidate him and local Christians demanding that they leave the neighborhood. He said that despite severe threats to his life and worsening situation, authorities have not provided security to the local Christians. In the face of intensifying tensions, danger of a communal clash is always on, he explained.

As previously reported, Pastor Shahid detailed that dispute began when a Christian girl from the congregation had eloped with a Muslim and had married him after converting to Islam. Local church’s administration has become obnoxious to the local Muslim community on the pretext of supporting the girl’s family.

Soon after the news of this marriage spread in the area, local influential people decided that the newly wedded couple will not be allowed to return to the neighborhood, as this may cause dissensions between local Christians and Muslims. However, now the family members of Rana Sakif, the boy who had who had lured the Christian girl to elope with him; are singling out each and every Christian who had tried to pursue legal course of action.

“Rana Kashif, Rana Atif and Kishwar Bibi and Rana Sakif are threatening us,” Pastor Shahid said. He urged the authorities to take necessary action and apprehend the gangsters and family members of Rana Sakif involved in harassing and intimidating the Christians. “Despite the fact that they have taken notice, we do not feel safe,” he voiced his fear adding,”Local Christian journalists and social activists have stepped forward and highlighted our case.” He called upon the authorities to provide security to the Christians who are on pins and needles.

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