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Living under the shadow of death

Living under the shadow of death

Extremists in Pakistan continue their vigilante campaign against non-Muslim citizens shrinking them bit by bit to oblivion under the shadow of a protective state

2018-03-31T16:31:00+05:00 Khadija Khan

A Christian boy who was booked under the notorious blasphemy laws of Pakistan jumped off the fourth floor window of Federal Investigation Agency building under mysterious circumstance on Friday, 23 February, 2018.

He survived to reveal the horrors that he and his cousin were going through in the agency’s torture cell before one of the officers asked him to either rape his accused cousin or die by jumping off the window.

Patras, 24, jumped off the window to avoid the unspeakable insult of abusing his own cousin brother. An FIR No 174/18 invoking Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code was registered against Patras Masih and his cousin Sajid Masih, 18, which could result in life imprisonment or death penalty under the blasphemy laws of the country.

The youths are latest victims of heavily radicalised Muslim nation where the draconian blasphemy laws have been used since their imposition to destroy already shrinking minorities.

Most of the victims of blasphemy accusations face mob torching and extreme violence while the lucky ones among them are get caught by the police authorities only to bear with torture like Sajid and Patras mostly in the hands of vigilante agents working for the law enforcement agencies.

The deputy speaker of Punjab Assembly, largest province of Pakistan, Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani added insult to injury when he snubbed a Christain MP Shunila Ruth for trying to seek action over the inhumane incident.

She was shunned by the speaker for ‘wasting precious time’ of the legislator by talking about cheap newspaper articles. FIA has totally denied the accusations of Patras Masih, who is still lying on death bed struggling for his life after the fall and chances are that he and his family would be silenced through coercion as it happened in the cases of other mob attacks.

The vigilante mullahs present around the locality of Sajid and Patras are also running a hate campaign against the local Christians who had been living there for generations. However, the campaign has led many of them to flee their homes for safety while those still present there are awaiting violent reprisal.

The state sponsored black laws and heavy radicalisation have made non-Muslim communities, shrink from 15 per cent of the population at partition (1947) to now short of four per cent.

The modes operandi of the religiously charged mobs is always the same they accuse one or multiple individuals of a minority group of committing blasphemy and then ransack their colonies, pretending that these poor people were punished for insulting Islam.

However, behind the smokescreen lies the greater purpose of this kind of ransacking, which is to uproot and disperse the minority groups from their colonies, mostly situated in cities or outskirts and weaken their unity to later target isolated families to convert to Islam.

In 2009, hundreds of extremist vigilantes torched a Christian colony in Punjab village Gojra on unfounded rumours that pages from the Quran had been desecrated. Six Christians including four women and one child were burnt alive and 60 houses were set ablaze in the riots. Subsequent threats to complainants and witnesses made them to withdraw the case against almost a 1,000 suspects letting them get away with murder.

Another similar attack against Christians took place in Lahore, when around 7,000 Islamists set 175 Christian houses on fire on the false allegation of blasphemy in 2013. No causality was reported because instead of preempting the plunder, local police asked the resident Christians to leave their houses a night before the incident. This followed two suicide bombing rumbled the churches in Lahore’s Youhanabad area in 2015 which claimed 15 deaths and 70 injured people.

Then in 2016, 72 Pakistani Christians including women and children lost their lives and over 340 got injured in suicide attack in a park on Easter day. Pakistani Taliban took the responsibility for the gruesome suicide attack which claimed innocent lives indiscriminately.

These people are shown a way out of their misery by being part of the faith of pure in the land of pure.

This is where most of the minority groups vanished in just a few decades although all these Christians, Hindus and Sikhs were natives of this land before and after the partition of India.

Although the state denies any support for such fanatic groups yet most of these accused are encouraged to commit such horrors only on basis of State given laws and most of them even get away with mass murders.

It was military dictator Ziaul Haq who imported the concept of pan Islamism to the country in 1970s and started large scale indoctrination of school and seminary kids on grounds of Salafist version of Islam, which later became foundation for the creation of terror groups like Al-Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS.

Zia and his cronies are also blamed for selling the narrative in Pakistan that all non-Muslims were impure and were enemies of Muslims and Pakistan.

Decades long brainwashing of the whole nation led to the point where the ‘pure’ people of Pakistan now consider even consuming any food or beverage touched by the non-Muslims as filthy and impure but the state of Pakistan never bothers to tell these bigots that they were living on the alms and support of the Christian West mainly United States.

Asia Bibi is one such example. She is rotting in cell awaiting her death sentence despite revealing that she was only persecuted after drinking water from a Muslim co-labourer’s glass, who later went on to get her booked for blasphemy merely to settle her personal grudge against Asia.

US was the biggest donor and supporter of Pakistan in the world with giving civil and military assistance to the country on promises of curbing extremism and terror movements in the region till President Donald Trump decided to associate these donations and support with concrete results.

It would be naïve to believe that these religious groups automatically got armed and indoctrinated throughout the history while the state neither knew about their existence nor they could take any measures to curb the rise of devil.

It is also a responsibility of state to educate their citizens and teach the majority that the non-Muslims are equal citizens of the country.

The civilised world needs to care more about how the state and extremists were ravishing the minorities in Pakistan and they need to send solid messages to the state that they would be facing non-cooperation from the world if they fail to curb the rising violence and discrimination against non-Muslims in the country.

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