By Kaleem Dean
A young Christian boy travelling on a motorbike on the main street in a village close to Faisalabad accidently struck a Muslim man standing near the road last week. Uninjured, the man got up and started beating the boy who managed to escape.
The man then began shouting, calling all his relatives and friends, claiming that a Christian hit him intentionally with his motorbike.
In rage, the mob gathered rods and sticks and ran towards the Christian dwellings in the village. Many Christians fled the town, but some – including women — were captured and brutally beaten by the mob. Their injuries were horrific.
As the mob attacked and the Christians begged for their lives, the Muslims shouted that they would kill every one of them if the entire community didn’t pick up and leave the area.
While the attack was underway, one member of the Christian community was able to contact Robin Daniel, a Christian leader and chairman of the National Minority Alliance of Pakistan based in Faisalabad, who rushed to the scene with a team of helpers. He took all injured to a nearby hospital, where they were given medical treatment.
Armed with the necessary documentation of the injuries from the hospital, Daniel went to a local police station and filed a complaint against the Muslim extremists who instigated and participated in the attack.
The police, however, refused to register the complaint. Christians say this is common practice whenever a member of the Christian community registers a complaint against a Muslim in Pakistan.
As is typical, they say, local Muslims had already pressured the police not to take any action. In addition, Muslim political leaders advised Christians to move from the area as local Muslims threatened the Christians they would target them again.
Faisalabad is the third most populous city of the Punjab province. Christian missionaries established several villages in the vicinity of the city but now, because of persecution, thousands of Christians who once made the area their home have left.
Those that remain, live in the village next to Faisalabad, where this incident occurred. They mainly eke out a living through manual labor.
Since the beginning of 2016, a severe wave of persecution was launched against minorities in Pakistan, with the government taking no apparent interest in safeguarding their rights.
Kaleem Dean is human rights activist and journalist from Pakistan. He currently lives in the UK. He was the publisher of Christian Monitor in Pakistan, a leading Christian newspaper which covers minority issues. He presently writes for various Pakistani papers. Write to him at [email protected]