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.
BPCA'S Pakistan officer Shamim Masih with The eldest son of Shahzad and Shahzad's Brother.
People of good conscience are urged to continue signing the our on-line petition, which will be submitted to the Pakistani Government, and again to 10 Downing Street on New Years Day 2015:
By Shamim Masih
The family of Christian couple Shama and Shahzad Bibi are still reeling from the horrific crime that tragically took their loved ones away.
Shama Bibi, 24, and husband Shahzad Masih, 26 were burnt alive in the brick kiln in Kot Radha Kishan of Kasur district, 50 kilometres from Lahore.
The eldest son of the couple who witnessed the horrendous murder of his parents, said that,
“very early in the morning, the supervisor (Munshi) along with a few other men, came to house and took my parents with him, we were so scared. They started beating them with sticks and slapping them hard, so we started weeping and ran after our parents. Soon after my uncle, Iqbal Masih, [Shahzad's brother] came out of his house to inquire about the incident. They didn't listen to him and locked up our parents in a nearby room, all us children kept on weeping and we remained with our uncle in his house."
After a while he witnessed, “Many people were gathering and they were equipped with big iron rods and sticks in their hands. They tore my parents’ clothes off and started bashing them. They hit them on the head, legs, back, anywhere that they could reach, beating them so severely, they couldn’t stand up. There was blood everywhere. The mob threw their bodies into the fire of the brick kiln, shouting no-one could stop them, they were shouting at and hitting other Christians too."
All four of Shahzad’s brothers locked themselves in their houses for the fear of receiving the same fate as their brother and sister-in-law, as the mob were extremely angry, shouting that they would burn all of his relatives living in the local area. They threatened to burn the other Christians’ houses in Village Chack no.59. Local Christians were terrified, knowing that, had an attack been instigated, local police officials would not have reached the village in time.
Iqbal Masih said, “I was not aware of the incident, until I heard the mob shouting in the streets. I left my house to inquire about it. The supervisor told me that Shama has burnt holy pages of the Quran and that they were going to hand my brother Shahzad and his wife over to the police. It suddenly dawned on me that my brother and sister were being accused of a blasphemy and the penalty is death. I felt shocked and horrified to learn their fate and asked the supervisor to set them free. I begged for the life of Shahzad and Shama but nobody was listening.”
He added, “The angry mob of at least 1000 Muslims were shouting and chanting that they would lay down their lives to protect Islam, but in the end they took my brother's and his wife's.” Fearing for his family and his own safety, he ran to his home and locked his family in his house.
Relatives of Shama and Shahzad are yet to receive any compensation, even though the government had announced that the children would receive Rs5,000,000. The government will only award compensation for the children of Shama and Shahzad. It is yet to be decided who will be the children’s legal guardian.
Two of the murdered couple’s younger daughters are currently residing with the wife’s sister, Saima, who converted to Islam a few months before the tragic incident. Saima came to the village with her father claiming to be the children’s guardian whilst Shahzad’s brothers, Iqbal and Shahbaz, have also laid claims to legal guardianship of the children. The case is currently with the local court and the compensation that the children rightly deserve is still with the DCO.
The rest of Shama and Shahzad’s family are living with relatives in Clarkabad who are supporting them financially. Shahmim Masih has also supported the family on behalf of the British Pakistani Christian Association, helping them take Shama and Shahzad's belongings back to their villages and providing for their immediate needs. The family have agreed that the BPCA will pay for the ongoing educational needs of the children when of school age and when the oldest son has settled into a safer environment.
The family are still continuing on with their daily struggles and are looking for employment but have not yet decided what to do, as their loss is overwhelming. Shamim suggested that they move to Lahore or another city as the fear of violence is ever present in the village area of Clarkabad.
The trial date which started on the 6th November is when the police presented their findings to the court, yet only 70 people were arrested out of the 1000 plus mob. Shamim Masih stated in his opinion, “the trial will no doubt lose momentum and ultimately fail; I expect after a short period of remand the accused will be set free. If we are lucky, one or two culprits could face sentencing.”
Local Christians still living in the village of Chack no.59 are very frightened, convinced that local Muslims will attack again. Many have already been threatened and beaten since the attack. The local Muslim community stands by the extra-judicial killing, believing a blasphemy occurred, through desecration of their holy book the Quran. The Christian community in Clarkabad wants those who committed the murders to be held accountable and punished.
Labour unions of the brick kiln are being active in setting those free who are still in labour bondage. However, this has mainly benefited the local Muslim community many of whom are taking advantage of the incarceration of the landowner and his accountant. All 10 Christian families have had to remain in labour bondage as no assistance has been provided and they have nowhere to go. The Christian community are still targets and can be attacked at any time, especially those Christians who are still living in the same village Chack no.59,
Shahzad’s brothers and sister have been moved to Clarkabad as it has become untenable for them to remain in Chack No.59. They are the only Christian family to have escaped the torture of the bonded labour and the pariah status Christians endure in this most inhospitable of areas.
The BPCA has initiated a permanent benevolent fund for the family of Shahzad and Shama. The BPCA desires to free them from their bonded labour status and will work towards providing a new safer environment for this family, that has suffered the loss of loved ones in a brutal and savage manner. This family have been left with serious emotional and psychological scarring and are receiving counselling. The orphaned children are being cared for by the family of Shahzad and your donations will provide ongoing care. If you would like to contribute to our appeal our bank details are as follows:
Sort Code: 20-67-90 Account number: 63468976 Bank: Barclays
Ref: Love for Shahzad and Shama (regular standing orders must use this reference).
Alternatively if you would like to send an immediate donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable to the BPCA to our address; 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Christians in Pakistan.