Tareeza Yousaf speaking to Shamim Masih
I offer my condolences to Shamim Masih for his Father’s homegoing to Jesus Christ the Son of God and Savior.
Life is a precarious thing for Christians in Pakistan. Muslims use Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law as a pretext to execute their Islamic Supremacist prejudice against Christians. Most of the time the Blasphemy Law accusations are a falsehood tool used as vengeance or a pretext to steal property and what few valuables Christians might actually possess in a nation in which their existence at best is as a second class citizen unworthy of the rule of law as a Muslim views. Read below to see what I mean.
Sangla Hill – blasphemy accused family still suffers from dire consequences
By Shamim Masih
Sent: 1/7/2015 11:17 PM
ISLAMABAD: My father passed peacefully, with all his children around him, adored by not just all of them, but their children as well, and even a few of their children’s children. A Brain Hemorrhage caused his death on January 01, 2015. After the funeral and memorial service, while sitting among relatives, Tareeza Yousaf – wife to Yousaf Masih (blasphemy accused in Sangla Hill incident) – told me that she and her family are still facing death threats and dire consequences around ten years after [Link] the incident.
In November 2005, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, United Presbyterian Churches, a convent, a missionary school, a girls’ hostel and a pastor’s house were attacked at Sangla Hill. The attack was over the allegation of a violation of [Pakistan’s] blasphemy laws by a Christian, Yousaf Masih. None of the perpetrators of the attacks has ever been punished ever since [the attack], while a judicial inquiry into the incident remains either incomplete or unpublished. But his family still suffers from dire consequences after the death of Yousaf Masih in 2008. She said her husband had been implicated in a false blasphemy case [and was] beaten severely causing his death after his release [from jail]. Her son has been assaulted twice, while his brother was threatened while he was on the way back home after his classes, she added.
Around 500 Christian families living in Sangla Hill left the town the night before the attacks of November 12, 2005. The widow of Yousaf Masih said that she noticed the increasing vitriol against Christians being spouted from mosque loudspeakers after a her husband Yousaf Masih was falsely accused of burning copies of Quran, and had fled before the riots to save their lives. All Christian families that had fled Sangla Hill had been unable to return because they feared they would be attacked and the police would not protect them. Some families after the riots reached an agreement with locals they could return to their homes, in exchange for dropping the charges against the accused. Later a blasphemy case against Yousaf Masih was also dropped as part of the agreement.
Since then she is living in a hidden place with her children under constant threat of her children’s lives. And nobody has been helping her out in daily routine life. She could hardly manage her living [expenses]. Since her husband remained in prison, Peter Jacob, ex-executive director of the Catholic Church in Pakistan’s National Commission for Justice and Peace had helped her to some extent. He reportedly got her family’s passports but didn’t manage their applications. Cecil S Chaudhry present director is not aware of this case, when I asked him to know his stance. He promised to call me back but he didn’t. It’s really horrible that people like this are not taking serious steps to protect the life of [Christian] victims. This is a country where Salman Taseer was murdered by his security guard for demanding reforms in the blasphemy law and civil society can be attacked while commemorating the candle vigil after few years of his death. This is a country where Ayub Qaiser, blasphemy accused can be arrested after three years of living in hiding places. A place where Ryan Santan’s family is forced to live in hiding places while he has reportedly married to a Sri Lankan girl and looking for asylum abroad. Pakistan is place of Islamists, where hundreds of the houses of the Christians can be burnt like at Sangla Hill, Shanti Nagar, Gojra and Joseph Colony, Lahore. And a Christian couple is burnt alive without any solid evidence [of breaking the Blasphemy Law] [nor any] judicial procedure.
This type of gory incident has surly rattled over 20 million followers of Christ Jesus in Pakistan and nearly 2.2 billion Christians living across the globe. But this is not a place where people can raise a voice against terrorism and against threats to their values, free speech and the rule of law. Democracy is seen in papers only and insecurity is seen all around.
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 and links enclosed in brackets are by the Editor.
© Shamim Masih