Mob violence: Killing of Christian couple slammed province-wide

Published: November 6, 2014
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Christian community members gather at a local church at Kot Radha Kishan where the coffins are placed. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

Christian community members gather at a local church at Kot Radha Kishan where the coffins are placed. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

An official team visits the scene of the crime. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS A relative of the victims talks to Minorities’ Affairs Minister Tahir Khalil Sindhu. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS Christian community members gather at a local church at Kot Radha Kishan where the coffins are placed. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS
FAISALABAD / LAHORE: 

Members of the civil society and representatives of the Christian community on Wednesday condemned the killing of a Christian couple accused of blasphemy on Tuesday in Kot Radha Kishan in Kasur.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed grave concern over the incident in a statement issued on Wednesday.  The statement was based on the preliminary findings of a fact finding team that had visited the area. The commission said the team had found no evidence of the alleged desecration of Holy Quran. The HRCP said the incident appeared to be rooted in a dispute over wages and outstanding payments. Shehzad, one of the victims, had been asked by the kiln owner to repay the advance he had extended to the families of two Muslim labourers. The owner had asked him to repay the amount as Shehzad had introduced the men to him.

The commission said it appeared that Shehzad and his expectant wife, Salma, were locked up in a room after being beaten up at the kiln. Some bystanders said Shehzad had died while being thrashed. The HRCP said hundreds of people had started moving towards the kiln as word of the alleged desecration spread through loudspeakers mounted at mosques. The commission said four policemen had visited the scene and demanded the custody of the couple. The HRCP said the owner had instructed his employees to refuse to cede to the police’s request. The commission said the policemen were also beaten up.

The HRCP said it was still waiting for the police’s version. The district police officer told the commission that the incident was being probed and police had arrested 40 people including the kiln owner.  The HRCP said the incident represented the vanishing writ of the statement as the policemen were unable to secure the couple’s custody.

The commission also demanded swift action to be taken against those guilty of instigating violence against the victims and preventing their rescue from the kiln. The HRCP also drew attention to the plight of kiln workers and demanded an end to such practices that continue to flourish despite constitutional safeguards.

Separately, Bishop of Faisalabad Joseph Arshad condemned the killings on Wednesday.

Special prayers for the deceased and national prosperity and integrity were also offered on the occasion at the Bishop House Catholic Church.

Those present on the occasion urged the government to impartially probe the incident and punish those held responsible for it.

They also urged the government to ensure the life and property of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan. The participants said this was necessary to promote communal goodwill and harmony in society.

National Commission for Justice and Peace Director Father Symon Khurshid demanded that the government take notice of the incident.

He also urged the government to ensure that the rights and privileges of minorities were safeguarded in accordance with a verdict of former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • ysk tsk
    Nov 6, 2014 - 2:12AM

    This is Shaytan’s handiwork – you think you are doing this for Allah, but you’re spilling blood for the devil. He influences us even in perceived forms of devotion, that’s how clever Shaytan is.

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  • Rahman
    Nov 6, 2014 - 2:26AM

    Yes we have seen all this before. Condemnation,accusations,finger pointing and endless investigative commissions. The bottom line is two innocent lives were brutally and mercilessly extinguished in the name of my religion. A religion I try to practice diligently by embracing its principal message of compassion, love and mercy.

    And here we have, a person who is supposed to teach that message daily, practice such abhorrent hate and intolerance, that I feel sorry for the people who gather to pray behind him, his friends and family who have to see and live his hypocrisy.

    I am confident that no amount of justice, even the death penalty will wipe out the fear and terror that Christians must be enduring in our unjust and unkind country. To my Christian brethren my head hangs in ignominy and my existence less meaningful. I wish to apologize that you are suffering at the hands, of these so called, followers of my religion. I apologize not for my faith, but for these “things” who bring shame to humanity and the word “decency”

    May God bless you and keep you safe.

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  • Escape from Pakistan
    Nov 6, 2014 - 2:56AM

    Any concrete action by the leaders of this freaking country to punish the culprits and prevent the repeat ?Recommend

  • Jibran
    Nov 6, 2014 - 3:12AM

    Strong condemnation from HRCP. But where are Imran Khan of the Changed Pakistan, and PMLN of the Naya Pakistan? Their response has been very feeble and cosmetic only if any.

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  • Nov 6, 2014 - 3:40AM

    Nothing will be done. Because the Thug number one ameerul momineen
    Nawaz is PM. His brother Little PM. Will not do any real work. And the
    case against 40 people? That means nothing will transpire.. Remember,..
    Mukhtaram Mai?. All her rapists are free today.

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  • Nov 6, 2014 - 3:42AM

    Do you see the difference? There is no comment. Had it been Muslim couple, there would have been lot’s of comments.

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  • Jibran
    Nov 6, 2014 - 6:43AM

    The flag of Pakistan should be officially changed now. The white should now have a splatter of red, to depict bleeding minorities.

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  • Humza
    Nov 6, 2014 - 8:21AM

    Hopefully all the culprits of this heinous crime will be charged and jailed. I worry that the reason the mob attacked police was due to the example set by PAT and PTI followers who also attacked police and government buildings in their dharnas. they also behaved like they were above the law.

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  • SK
    Nov 6, 2014 - 10:35AM

    The blasphemy laws have to change and all the imams of the mosque should be held responsible if found to be guilty of inciting. The government should implant an informer in every sermons in mosques to catch the culprit imams who incite people to take laws in their hands. It’s shame for this nation that it is failing to protect its minorities.

    Once minorites become a victim of violent mobs the political condemnations wouldn’t fetch them back. The inciters and perpetuators should be dealt with an iron hand and justice should be swift and prompt. No lengthy trails and court and months and months of court adjournments if the police brings perpetuators to courts they must bring them with solid and un refutable evidences , and any perpetuators released by courts for lack of evidence, the law enforcing agencies must be held accountable .

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  • Gina
    Nov 14, 2014 - 12:28PM

    @Rahman: Couldn’t appreciate enough your kind and decent comments. Thanks for showing your support and calling Christians your brethren. God will be kind to you as you show your kindness towards humanity.

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  • Gina
    Nov 14, 2014 - 12:30PM

    You are right@Jibran:

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  • Gina
    Nov 14, 2014 - 12:36PM

    The extent of the sadness of this event is so deep and so sorrowful that this incident can’t be forgotten easily. Poor little kids left alone without even one parent. The older kid watched his parents brutally beaten. What kind of memory he will grow up with. The society needs to understand the sensitive situation of minorities.

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