A Pakistani man who was mistaken by his country’s court as being Jewish has become subject to arrest, death threats and alienation from his community.
Jew Jurian is a Pakistani Christian from the city of Lahore, Pakistan, who was accused of blasphemy when he wrote his name on a national identity card form. The Computerized National Identity Cards mistakenly declared Jurian as a Jewish man because of his first name, subjecting him to arrest and death threats.
Jurian was released by police in May 2003, but he and his family still face death threats, according to an Express Tribune report. He was released with two other men who were later killed by religious extremists.
Qaiser Azeem, one of the men, was reportedly stabbed to death two years later, and Mustaq Ahmed was shot after testifying against extremists accused of terrorism.
These attacks forced Jurian and his family to flee the area as death threats continued to be directed his way. Jurian filed a First Information Report- a type of police complaint, where he pointed out the fact that he was still being harassed by unknown extremists even after he was declared innocent of blasphemy in 2002.
In the FIR, Jurian reported that he received threatening calls on a regular basis, including one incident late in October 2011, where someone called him an infidel or religious traitor. He was forced to leave the area in Mohallah Green Park, where very few Christians live. Jurian said that local residents are in contact with religious extremists and police sympathize with them as well.
Jurian claims that the harassers have all worked together to create a troublesome situation for him and his family, forcing them to leave. He claims that the Baghbanpura Police have continuously hassled his family and raided his home many times, according to the Tribune.
Families who receive similar treatment have been forced to flee the city in fear of being harassed. They reportedly live in an underground existence in Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan.
Jurian eventually contacted Kamran Michael, the Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minorities through his father, Maqbool Masih. Michael is also a Pakistani Christian who was faced with resistance in the Punjab Province for serving as a Finance Minister while being non-Muslim.
He submitted an application to Michael, asking to be saved from extremists, and also accusing the assistant sub-inspector of the Baghbanpura police station of providing security for the alleged extremists.