The following is a report sent to us from a young woman who is doing the on-line Urdu (Pakistani) version of The Forerunner.
*You may also view some videos here. Although these are not in English, you can see what is going on and know exactly what to pray about.
Report by: Nosheet Gloria, Toba Tek Singh, Pakistan
Affected Areas: Korian and Gojra, District Toba Tek Singh
30 July 2009
A mob of Muslim Extremists burnt about 75 houses of the Christian People over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Azafi Abadi at Chak 95-JB on Gojra-District Toba Tek Singh, later on Thursday, Christian leaders said.
It was a routine happy morning of 30th July 2009. In the wake of this economically depressed situation the peasants were heading towards their fields to seed therein with the hope of harvesting the fruit of their day to day struggle. The children went to the school to accomplish many of their forefathers’ dreams which had not yet been realized for generations, and the women were busy in their household activities, wishing to complete their household tasks before their children come back from the schools and before their men come back from the fields for their lunch. Nobody knew until then what that day was going to bring to them.
Everything seemed to be happy till the noon time, and still nobody had any idea of the great danger coming upon their heads. It was when Mukhtar Masih, Talib Masih and his son Imran Masih were allegedly reported to desecrate the papers inscribed with the Holy Quran verses at a wedding ceremony of their relatives.
An official newspaper “Dawn” said that 50 houses were damaged when the mob in a frenzy of rage held a jury where the alleged convicted of desecrating the Holy Quran Talib Masih was asked to offer apology over the incident.
Talib denied the incident and refused to apologize. Resultantly hundreds of people mobbed together and attacked the Azafi Basti.
Before the arrival of the mob, the residents had fled which gave a walkover to the mob which put on fire 75 houses. The ablaze also burnt many a cattle.
District Police Officer (DPO) Inkisar Khan fielded MPA Bilal Asghar Warraich and Maulana Noor Ahmad to calm down the mob. The DPO also suspended the Gojra Sadar station house officer at the demand of the mob.
The mob blocked the road to block the entrance of fire brigades to the village. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab Minorities and Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael visited the locality on Friday and urged both sides to remain peaceful.
They said the Christians would be compensated for their loss. Minority MPAs Rafiq Pervaiz and Khalil Tahir Sandhu also visited the village.
DPO Inkisar Khan said a case has been registered under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code against Mukhtar Masih, Talib Masih and Imran Masih without any arrest.
Local ulema and traders demanded the arrest of the accused and announced a complete strike on Saturday (1st of August 2009). Former MNA M Hamza condemned the violence against Christians as well as the alleged desecration act. In a press statement, he demanded a judicial probe into the incident..
Labour Party leader Tariq Mahmood, National Workers’ Party Punjab Secretary Rana Azam, Labour Qaumi Movement’s Shabbir Ahmad and Kissan Committee President Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad and other remarkable officials condemned the violence.
1st of August 2009
A mob of Muslim Extremists burnt about 100 houses of the Christian People over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Gojra City-District Toba Tek Singh, later on Saturday.
When the incidence in in Azafi Abadi at Chak 95-JB was being condemned from right and left and by the officials of the government and by the TV channels, no rescue measurements were taken to avoid any other possible sad incidents. Almost everyone was talking in every corner of the region that the mob of the Muslim Extremists is very likely to attack again. The extremists were reported to have inquired from the people walking on the streets and roads if they were not Christian. They even were present in bus stops, taxi stands and other public places to take the Christian people to task. Some people were beaten just because they appeared to be Christian. In Pakistan normally black colored people are considered to be Christians. But there are some Muslim people as well who are of black skin, and they had to pay the penalty for their black color in spite of the fact that they were Muslims.
In spite of these facts no security was provided by the government, the result of which was that another sad incident was given a chance to take place. A mob of 1500 to 2000 people has been reported to have gathered for a peaceful political procession. They purposefully chose the place from where they could have accessed the Christian Locality easily.
The procession started moving dramatically, giving all indications of being attackers and incited their prey to concern about their security. It was blamed that Christians opened fire upon the mob first and the mob, in response, put the 100 houses on fire, killing 10 people including 4 women and 2 children with the fire, blaze and suffocation.
Chief Minister’s delegation consisting Dost Mohammad Khosa and Minority’s Minister Shahbaz Bhati visited the locations for sharing their concern and condolence over the great loss and promised the Christian Communities and steps will be taken to ensure that the lives and the belongings of the Christian Families shall be given all possible security. The Christian leaders and people shared their concern in their loud voices that such incidences are taking places in spite of all the vows and promises of the Government. Each new coming government does not care about things, and that the governments wait till the things are destroyed and then the officials only come for sharing their condolence.
Legal cases against the DPO (District Police Officer) and other concerned authorities have been filed who showed their all negligence which ended towards this sad incidence.
Mixed reports are coming from right and left. Some people say that it was Political Procession who got furious, while others believe that it was planned attack by the Taliban of Afghanistan.
We request you to pray for us all. We know and keep our faith in the fact that we are persecuted in His name. I believe that God is in control of everything, and He gives power to His people to fight against the Satanic powers.
I would like to request you to keep us in your daily prayers, and also please pray for the leaders of the Christian Community so that they may play their positive role to ensure the lives and belongings of the Christian People.
May God richly bless you and keep. May He smile for you and shine His face upon you. May His light keep burning in your heart!