In the tiny village of Torey Wala where most homes don’t have windows and meals are cooked over fire pits, Christians are used to feeling like second-class citizens.
Christians say they earn less than 200 Rupees (2 $) a day working in the sugar-cane fields. They must shop at the meagrely stocked Christian-run shop. They are not allowed to draw water from wells tapped for Muslim neighbours. Now, in what many consider to be a final disgrace, they are struggling to bury their dead.
“There is discrimination, and that is very much clear and obvious to all of us who live in this country,” said Nizar Masih, 65, a farmer who, like many Pakistani Christians, has a surname that refers to the Messiah.
Christians in Pakistan have been targets of what human rights activists call an extraordinary wave of violence against religious minorities, including Shiites, Ahmadis, Sikhs and Hindus. Christians’ dwindling burial space is an example of a less dramatic but more persistent battle they say takes place on daily basis.