LAHORE, Pakistan – At least 10 Christian families in a village in Pakistan’s Punjab Province have fled their homes after a throng of area Muslims accused a Christian of blaspheming Islam on Friday (June 10).
Yousaf Masih of village No. 68 AR Farmwala, in Khanewal district’s Mian Channu area, told Compass that his brother Yaqub’s grandson, 8-year-old Ihtesham (also known as Sunny), had gone out to fetch ice when Muslim boys from a nearby religious school started harassing him.
“The Muslim boys asked Sunny to recite the Kalma Tayyaba, Islam’s foremost proclamation of Muhammad as prophet, and become a Muslim, and only then would he be allowed to go home,” Masih said. “Sunny refused to repeat the Arabic verse, which infuriated the Muslim boys, and they started beating him up.” more >>
LAHORE, Pakistan – Sheikhupura police this month tortured a young Christian woman into revealing the whereabouts of the legal team helping her family after an influential Muslim family kidnapped her and her sister, sources said.
Police also helped the Muslim family beat relatives of the Christian woman on court premises and attacked the offices of the organization trying to help her family, they said.
The Community Development Initiative (CDI) was providing legal assistance to the family of Sajid Ashraf Masih, whose elopement with a young woman from the Gujjar family in Sheikhupura last month led the influential Muslims to kidnap Masih’s sisters, said Asif Aqeel, executive director of CDI. Gujjar family members kidnapped Rakhel Ashraf, in her early 20s, on May 13; they released her on May 17 but forcibly took her 17-year-old sister Maryam Ashraf that day. more >>
A special court has suspended the trial of a number of suspects alleged to have taken part in the slaughter of ten Christians, and the burning of nearly 100 houses in the Punjab province of Pakistan two years ago.
The decision was made after a key witness in the trial fled Pakistan. In the wake of the news the Anti-Terrorism Court in Faisalabad grated bail to the final three suspects who had been arrested over the atrocities that took place in August 2009. The other 63 suspects arrested in connection with the brutal killings had already been released on bail, ENInews has reported.
The chief public prosecutor had to explain to the court that a key eyewitness had fled to an “unknown place in a foreign country”. The court then decided to suspend the trial temporarily, and will give the key witness one year to re-appear. more >>
International Christian Concern has reacted with alarm to a proposal by Muslim clerics and politicians for the Bible to be banned in Pakistan.
In a statement on Thursday, ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, Jonathan Racho, said: “We are concerned by this call to the Bible in Pakistan. This demand by the Islamists is additional evidence of the worsening persecution of Christians in Pakistan.”
Last month, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Samiul Haq) or JUI-S party demanded for the Supreme Court of Pakistan to ban the Bible, saying “blasphemous” portions had been “added to the Bible.” more >>
Update: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has decided that Education Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman will present the budget instead of Kamran Michael. No reason has been given for selecting Mujtaba over Michael.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led by former prime minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has succumbed to pressure by most of its legislators of the Punjab Provincial Assembly to not let a Christian cabinet minister present the provincial budget for 2011-12 just because of his faith.
Kamran Michael, who holds the portfolio of Punjab Minorities Affairs Ministry, was given the additional charge of the provincial Finance Ministry, a few months ago [in March] when the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which was a coalition partner of the PML-N in Punjab, was forced to quit the government in wake of widening rift between the two parties. more >>
LAHORE, Pakistan – Armed Muslims disrupted the worship service of a church outside Lahore on Sunday (May 29), cursing the congregation, smashing a glass altar and desecrating Bibles and a cross, Christian leaders said.
Police initially tried to protect the leader of the Muslim intruders, the nephew of a former Member of the Punjab Assembly (MPA), and instead of making arrests eventually pressured Christians to accept an apology from the accused, they said.
Pastor Ashraf Masih of Numseoul Presbyterian Church in Lakhoki Kahna village told Compass that Muhammad Shoaib, nephew of former MPA Mansha Sindhu, entered the church building accompanied by four men armed with rifles and pistols and started cursing the congregation for “disturbing the peace of the area by worshipping on loudspeakers,” though the congregation was using loudspeakers only inside the church building. more >>