Ugly scenes: Violent protest follows church attacks

‘No one accused of attacking minorities in this country has ever been punished’.


Rana Tanveer March 15, 2015
Residents of Youhanabad holding a demonstration on Ferozepur Road. PHOTO: NNI

LAHORE:


Charged protesters, mostly Christians from the neighbourhood took to the streets on Sunday following bombings at two churches in Youhanabad and blocked several roads in the city.


Scores of them gathered on Ferozepur Road and many protested at Pecco Road, Kalma Chowk, Shama Chowk, Press Club and Thokar Niaz Beg.

The protesters blocked traffic on Ferozepur Road and on motorway. The Metro Bus Service was also suspended for several hours due to the protest.

The protesters attacked vehicles and smashed windows. They beat up some people who tried to remove the barriers erected by the protesters. At Peco Road, some protesters dragged a driver from a car and beat him with sticks.

At Shama Chowk, the protesters blocked the road by burning tyres at Ferozepur Road. The road was cleared after two hours. Residents of Mary Colony blocked Ferozepur Road at Kalma Chowk. They chanted slogans against the government and the police. They also demanded action against those behind the attacks. A group of protesters met at Lahore Press Club, carrying placards condemning the government for failing to protect minorities.

One of the protesters, who introduced himself only as Sunny, told The Express Tribune Christians were being persecuted in the chief minister’s constituency. He said if the chief minister could not protect the minority community in his own constituency, he was not too hopeful about the state of minorities in other parts of the province.

Commenting on protesters who had attacked the Metro Bus station near Youhanabad, he said should be excused as they been in shock.

Robin Masih, another baton-wielding protester, said police had done nothing to stop the accomplices of the suicide attackers. He said the mob had captured two ‘terrorists’ and did not want to hand over them to police, as they did not expect justice.

He alleged that police officials deputed at St John’s Catholic Church had been watching a cricket match between Pakistan and Ireland when the attack happened.

He said rather than rushing to the explosion site, they had hid in the shop. He said the protesters had locked them in.

Asked about the injured people in the shop who had died because they were denied timely medical aid, he said he was not aware of this.

Isaac Alim, another protester, said some people had broken the lock and pulled out two policemen and two dead from the shop.

He said the mob had beaten the policemen and dragged them from near the church to Ferozepur Road, where they let them go.  Aftab Gill, a resident of Youhanabad, said no one accused of attacking Christians in the country had ever been punished.

“Be it Shanti Nagar or Gojra or Joseph Colony or a church in Peshawar. No one is punished for the killings.” he said.

He said the men the mob had set alight had admitted to facilitating the terrorists.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2015.

COMMENTS (6)

Rao | 6 years ago | Reply Fellas, " It is history, history and history....." . What had happened in the history of Pakistan has something to say about the present. The present to a large extent is moulded by the past. Remember the founder of Pakistan, provided great deal of intellectual fodder for the creation of the state. That rested on the primary pillars of Two Nation theory. That Muslims and Non-Muslims ( Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsees, Buddhists etc.) are fundamentally different. He used the argument that Muslims needed a a state of their own and did not hesitate to use the communal /religious card to achieve the goal. One little speech of his which says that Christians, Hindus and the rest etc etc can go to their place of worship does not change the mindset of majority of Muslims of Pakistan! Human mind and behaviour are not like electric switches. Which can turn on or off! That is why Pakistan turned out to be a land for Muslims only. Millions of Non-Muslims have gone forever. You can't turn the clock back.
Tughril Sabir | 6 years ago | Reply Plz. Read the last para in parenthesis"the men who were torched, admitted to have fecilitated the terrorist", so the mob killed him. Isnt it the justice Taliban style. Our double standards of judiciary and existence of self created jirgas all over the country is responsible for this behaviour. Every one is having his own law. When states writ becomes extinct society has to go through this ordeal. The phenomenon of private armies of feudals, warlordism, extremist Armies only get hold when state has collapsed or about to collapse. Calling for our collective wisdom to understand the root cause of this trauma.
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