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Headteacher of Pernawa Village School Mr Azam, with his family.
A Christian headteacher from a village near Kasur, Pakistan, who had been promoted into the position on merit three months earlier, became the victim of a savage attack my Muslim co-workers on the morning of 5th October 2015. Headteacher Saddique Azam (47 years), a father of six children, has been subjected to abuse and regular disputes over his position, which has still to be ratified by the official education department, a process believed to be delayed as a consequence of the cultural animosity towards Christians and numerous complaints about the appointment of a Christian to the auspices of the Kasur Education Officer.
The violence erupted after Mr Azam refused to unlawfully enter Muhammed Javed Chaudhry's attendance for a day when he was absent.
Allegedly this annoyed Mr Chaudhry who became very furious and abusive. Mr Chaudhry left Mr Azam's office but the next day returned with his brother and a another men, poised to teach Mr Azam a lesson for this refusal.
Fuelled with rage over the audacity of a Christian man who dared to challenge his non-attendance at school, Mr Chaudhry along with the two men with him beat Mr Azam with Iron rods and other implements, for daring to discipline a Muslim. Muhammed Chaudhry said:
“You are a Christian and Choora so how can you be Headmaster and our senior?” they derided Azam as they verbally and physically abused him. They threatened him with more violence unless he listened to their instructions in future. Mr Azam outrightly refused to accept their terms and was subjected to a more frenzied beating.
The attack took place in front of other teachers and pupils who dismayed and traumatised by the violent attack called the Police to Pernawa village school and came to the rescue of the bruised and bloody headteacher. Police arrested the three men and placed them in a cell. Mr Azam was taken to Jinnah Hospital in Lahore and the BPCA have copies of the gruesome medical report.
Despite clear evidence of the attack local police refused to register an FIR against the perpetrators of violence, who were set free after a short time in the local police station cell. It has been alleged interference of Muslim Member of National Assembly (MNA) Rana Hayat of ruling party Pakistan Muslim League, led to their early release. We contacted Mr Hayat's office to ask about his involvement but were advised that he was at a wedding. To add insult to injury the Police and Local MNA allegedly coerced Mr Azam into taking a compromise settlement.
Mr Azam has said that he would like to put this incident behind him and would like to take no further action.
Mr Azam is fortunate to have retained his sight.Mr Azam suffered sever damage to his left eye and was admitted for two days. He was informed by doctors that he was extremely fortunate to have retained vision in the affected eye.