Grab this “churra” and we will make him an example for other Christians

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Attacks on Pakistani Christians

A minorities’ rights activist is striving to find justice for the persecuted family of a Christian property dealer “butchered like an animal” by three Muslim men.

CIP received an in depth report from the minorities’ rights activist, Khalid Shahzad, in which he had comprehensively brought the light the scenario surrounding Nazir Masih’ brutal killing. In his report he detailed that 50-year-old, Nazir was a property dealer by profession, and a resident of Wandala Dayal Shah Tahsil Ferozwala Distract Shaikhupura, Punjab province.

On 5 of April, Tuesday, the alleged murders namely Haider, Nazar and Achy Gujjar who are butchers by profession called on him, and tried to insist upon the transfer of possession of a plot whose purchase price they had not paid in full. Nazir guaranteed them that the plot will be transferred to their possession once they had paid the remaining amount of 250000 Rupees. However they kept on insisting that they want the possession of the plot.

Another man namely Meher Din, who was partner of Nazir Masih, also assured the three buyers of sure transfer after the payment of the purchase price. However, that same day, the three alleged culprits M. Nazar, M. Haider and Achy Gujjar called on Nazir Masih and Meher Din while they were cutting grass for their cattle.

At around 7 pm, the three arrived at the fields, and started bullying Nazir Masih while brandishing a butcher’s knife. Later they started beating him, kicking and punching him violently, eventually slitting his throat, and lacerating his face by slashing it with the knife.

Subsequently, an FIR 343/16 PS Ferozwala was registered by the police under charges of section 302/324 of the Pakistan Penal Code. Khalid Shahzad while speaking in this regard says, “Today I went there and urged the police for further action against culprits who had sent some people for settlement and avoid following the case. I also called DSP Feroz Walla Ehsan and in charge of the investigation to
take action and to arrest the culprits.”

Khalid Shahzad further provided a thorough background into this case and said that Nazir Masih was earning by taking commission from the buying and selling parties. He arranged the deal between the accused culprits and was demanding them to pay the purchase price. However, the buyers were adamant that the possession of the plot be given to them.

In order to settle the account, the accused men asked for a meeting with Nazir Masih and Meher Din at a local Christian Manzoor Masih’s house. The meeting started at about 5:00 pm which resulted in argumentation and broil. Manzoor tried to pacify both parties however, the dispute got fiery.

After the meeting was over Nazir and his partner Meher (who is a Muslim) went to the fields, at the same time as Achy Gujjar, M. Haider and M. Nazar arrived at the scene. Khalid Shahzad says that Achy Gujjar shouted, “grab the Churra” (a by word often used to call Christians, in order to dishonor them.) Achy shouted that Nazir will be made an example for other Christians. Saying this they started beating him afterwards pushed him down to his knees and then started slitting his throat and face.

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The murderers also attacked Meher din, but injured him. After slaying him, the three men fled chanting religious slogans while brandishing their knives. The people nearby started gathering at the scene and informed Iqbal Masih, son of Nazir Masih.

Iqbal Masih, approached a local police station and tried to file a complaint against the perpetrators. The police, showed reluctance to register and FIR, however, Khalid Shahzad says, “When we went and found the accused party guilty, then we started pressurizing the police and eventually police registered first investigation report against Hyder, Nazar and Achy Gujjar and nominated them in that murder case PPC 302, 324; after the people staged a protest.”

On the same night, police sent some people to the house of Nazir Masih, in order to pressurise the Christian family to withdraw their complaint. The Christian family was also offered money to cancel their FIR.

Khalid Shahzad approached the police station the next day, April 6, and started inquiring about the progress made into the case. Up till that point, none of the three nominated men were arrested by the police. Police was playing no role, in the situation. “This case will wind up very soon due to non available of funds for justice, transport, resources and moral support by the Christian community,” he says.