Tahir Naveed Chaudhry (left) & Basharat Khokher (right)
Shamim Masih highlights the Christian Human Rights activism of Basharat Khokher. Then Shamim reports something of little surprise. Muslim activists err radicals have been attempting to silence Basharat.
Stop Raising Voice for Justice, Peace and Respect
By Shamim Masih
Sent: 12/23/2014 11:22 PM
ISLAMABAD: Let the voices of justice, peace, and respect for law enforcement be heard. People around the world have seen the iron man protecting a Christian minor girl Rimsha (accused of burning holy papers of Islamic verses that focused international attention on Pakistan’s unsympathetic blasphemy laws) up to a helicopter outside the prison, when she was released on bail. I have also seen him during the said case protecting her attorney Tahir Naveed Chaudhry during the case trial. Although Chaudhry’s role as a lawyer was not prominent but his presence was there which won her release on bail. Later Rana Abdul Hameed, Rimsha’s attorney came in and saved her skin up to the apex court. I am an eye witness and have seen him in or outside the Islamabad courts running in rain or sun. Although I knew him before but since then we came close to each other and working together for the rights of Christians. Rimsha was held in jail before getting bail, but the cleric was later accused of fabricating evidence and the case against the girl was dropped. Later Rimsha and her family found refuge in Canada. But this man is still under threat and facing threatening calls on routine basis. Yes, he is Basharat Masih Khokhar, a police official, who had been serving as a security guard with Shahbaz Bhatti, a slain Federal Minister for minorities in Islamabad.
Basharat Khokher has been struggling for Christian rights for many years. In November, 2008, he was accused of harsh blasphemy law and a First Investigation Report (FIR) 267/08 was registered against him under 295-C and 109 Pakistan Penal Code, when he was saving a Christian colony in Rawal Dam Islamabad. He was arrested in the same case in January, 2009 and was put into prison. He remained in the jail for five months and was released on bail from Islamabad High Court on June, 2009. After he was released on bail, he was appointed as security guard to Shahbaz Bhatti, a Federal Minister for minorities. After the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti on March 2011, he worked with Dr. Paul Bhatti, his brother, during this time he left no stone unturned to save the minor Christian girl Rimsha’s life. Finally his case was discharged on the baseless allegation on June, 2011. Since then, he is under constant threats. According to him, he received many threatening calls and was attacked on September 9, 2012 at Zero point Islamabad. Basharat Khokher’s car was damaged and received injuries. Later he filed a complaint in Abbpara police station, Islamabad. On December 15, 2012, the same group followed him to his house and attacked his house. He sent his family into hiding for fear his family members would be attacked again.
Most recently, he complained at the police station and said that on December 19, 2014 at 10:37 pm, he received a phone call from a landline number that threatened him and asked to stop raising a voice against terrorism. He said that he held candle vigil against the terrorist attack in Peshawar Army ran school, which left 147 people killed including 132 school children. The voice told him to keep in mind the scene of carnage of Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer, governor Punjab.
This is really pathetic that we cry over spilled milk but do not take protective measures when the situation can be controlled and the life of a man can be saved. I have seen many Christian rights defenders [that are] much active on social media but there are few who really work hard to safe guard other’s rights, Basharat Khokhar is one of them, who act on the rights of Christian from foot. I think, he is an asset and human rights organizations should come in to raise a voice against the extremists who work behind the radicalism.
Daily Khabrian – in Urdu (PakBiz.com description – in English) & Channel – 5 (A project of Khabrian Group of papers)
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Edited by John R. Houk
All text enclosed by brackets are added by the Editor with the hope bringing clarity from an American perspective.
© Shamim Masih