A Pakistani Christian family fell into trouble after a Muslim woman went missing. 22-year-old Waheed Masih was accused of abducting 19-year-old Nabeela Bibi. The clash led to ransacking and looting of houses of Christian residents of Rahimabad village (78/RB), Sheikhupura District.
Details emerged, that July 9 Nabeela Bibi daughter of Muhammad Hanif went missing. Her father suspected that she had eloped with Waheed Masih, who lived next to her house. Talking to the World Watch Monitor, Nasir Masih brother of Waheed Masih said: “All the Muslim residents flared up and shouted at us saying they would burn our houses and cut us into pieces.”
Seeing, trouble brewing Christians assured their fellow villagers that they had no idea about the location of Nabeela, the accusers did not listen to them The situation grew worse. There are only 10 Christian families in the village and majority of them work at brick kilns.
Nasir Masih was quoted saying: “The mob took my mother and beat her publicly. Someone alerted the police, who rescued her from the mob but then took her into custody to pressure us to produce Waheed at the police station. I eventually brought Waheed back (early on 10 July) and presented him before the Muslims of the area.”
Followed by the incident, the victimized family penned an application to the Chief Minister of Punjab and the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Nasir Masih told World Watch Monitor that “the imam announced more than once on the loudspeaker that all Muslims should gather at the center of the village, and ‘Don’t let even a single Christian live in the village!’ Following this, a large number of Muslims gathered and then attacked the houses of the Christians.”
Detailing the incident, Nasir said that a charged mob of about 10 men stormed into his house. They started ransacking and stole gold jewelry, electric appliances and other household goods. He said that female family members and children had to run in order to save their lives.
Around 11 pm an announcement was made calling all the villagers to gather, which caused terror among the Christians and they started fleeing. Waheed’s grandmother stayed back at home and witnessed the attack. “The next morning, again a similar announcement was made from the mosque at which a local landlord, Muhammad Aslam, reprimanded the imam, asking him if he desired bloodshed,” Nasir was quoted by the WWM. An FIR [181/18] was registered against Waheed his brother Naveed and mother.
Police arrested Waheed and other nominated in the FIR. Later on the missing girl appeared before the magistrate and stated that she had married a Muslim man Muhammad Nazir Kashif and went to live with him. Following her statement, the police released Waheed and his mother. However, the police are yet to file a case against the ransacking, looting and inciting communal violence against the villagers.