Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK.
A locked, empty house in Youhanabad: a common sight during these times of great fear!
By Mehwish Bhatti
Police have arrested 106 Christians as part of their clampdown on the recent rioting after the twin Lahore bomb attack states Pakistan Today, a Pakistan daily.
In the report click here they identify the two men who have been arrested for instigating the burning alive of two Muslim men. Leaders of Sharing Life Ministries, are the accused perpetrators of these killings and were tracked from Lahore to Gujaranwala and Sialkot, as they tried to escape the law. Police have stated that the two men already had a number of criminal convictions.
The article stated:
“Sohail is also suspected of bringing fuel from his car, which was later used to burn the two men,” sources said.
Sources said that those arrested are currently being investigated by the police to determine their role in the protests. Videos of the protests and fingerprints from various sites were used to identify people using NADRA’s database.
The suspects are currently being held at unknown locations and it is unclear how long they would be held. All those arrested are from the Christian community."
This has alarmed the local Christian community who believe many of the young men who have been arrested are innocent.
Complaints from the community include demands from local police that bribes are paid for the release of the innocent men and young Christian girls are being harassed by police officers.
One local resident said:
"Police are asking us to pay a Jizya tax for the 'gouna' (sin) of killing Muslims. From now on protection from the police will require poor Christians to pay an unlawful Islamic tax."
Bribes of this nature are commonly paid to the corrupt police of Pakistan, and in Lahore in particular, which has a very bad reputation for police extortion. However, the reference to a Jizya tax is disconcerting and illustrates the growing extremism in Pakistan.
Christians in Youhanabad are still fleeing their homes and many who left are still to return. The fear of a reprisal attack still looms heavily over a community that is terrified, not only of extremists but of the authorities in place to protect them.
We asked our Chairman Wilson Chowdhry what he thought about the arrests and existing threats to Christians of Youhanabad. Mr Chowdhry, said:
"Any criminals involved in the riots should be prosecuted, however the innocent men should be let free. The arrests figure is set to rise as I am aware of further arrests being made and the number of arrests is not commensurate with the number seen within the riots actually causing damage. I in no way condone the killing of the two Muslim men, gunmen or not and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. However, mitigating circumstances should not simply include previous criminal convictions, but the reasons behind the frenzied response.
"The Government of Pakistan must protect all it's citizens. If local police are imposing a jizya tax -which is an unlawful sharia payment - then they should be investigated and removed from their posts. Claims of harassment will need to be investigated sensitively as the Youhanabad community are too fearful to speak out about their treatment to anyone but Christian NGOs. However, the lack of evidence due to unwillingness to be recorded, leaves us unable to effectively register concerns."
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it."
1 Corinthians 12 v 26
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