Blasphemy: Plight of Christians in Sargodha
Sargodha, a district in Punjab-Pakistan, has recently witnessed a concerning escalation of tension and violence against the local Christian community. Alleged blasphemy incidents have triggered a series of unfortunate events, resulting in persecution, harassment, and fear among Christians. Despite the gravity of the situation, the absence of effective intervention from government and non-government interfaith harmony committees has raised questions about their role in addressing such crises. This article delves into the distressing circumstances faced by the affected family, the biased response of local authorities, and the necessity for urgent action to protect the rights of persecuted Christians.
The troubles began with a Facebook post made by a Christian youth namely, Haroon Shahzad during Eid-ul-Adha, which was deemed blasphemous by a Muslim individual. Consequently, an FIR was registered against him, he subsequently went disappeared. His family members including his wife and the children, as well as his siblings, are now facing threats, harassment, and violence from local residents and the Police.
Role of interfaith harmony committees
In this critical situation, one cannot help but wonder about the whereabouts and effectiveness of the government and non-government interfaith harmony and peace committees in Sargodha. Despite the severity of the ongoing crisis, the affected family has yet to receive assistance or protection. Haroon Shahzad’s entire family continues to suffer without any meaningful intervention to address their plight.
Bias local administration
The local Police’s response has been perceived as biased, showing reluctance to protect the Christian community from violence. Despite granting bail to Haroon Shahzad, the situation remains tense and the Police have failed to take decisive action in safeguarding the Christians of the area. This apparent negligence has only fueled further unrest and fear among the vulnerable community members.
Role of Prominent Figures:
Prominent political figures, including former Federal Minister Senator Kamran Michael, former Provincial Minister Tahir Khalil Sindhu, and former Provincial Minister Ejaz Alam Augustine have visited the area but their words have not translated into tangible actions to address the persecution faced by the Christians. A local lawyer, Sanawar Balam, has been vocal in supporting the rights of Christians, but more substantial efforts are required to alleviate the distressing situation.
Call for investigation and intervention:
It is imperative for relevant human rights organizations, particularly the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter and produce an impartial report. Additionally, the Commission for Justice and Peace at the Ecclesiastical level should actively intervene to uncover the truth regarding the persecution and insecurity faced by Christians in Sargodha. The vulnerable Christian community urgently requires support and protection to ensure their safety and well-being.
The situation for Christians in Chak 49, District Sargodha, is a matter of great concern with the alleged blasphemy incidents leading to hatred, violence, and displacement of families. The lack of effective action plans from government and non-government interfaith harmony committees calls into question their role in addressing crises of this nature. It is essential for relevant human rights organizations and the Commission for Justice and Peace to investigate the matter thoroughly and provide much-needed support to the persecuted Christian community. The time for intervention is now, as innocent lives are at stake and immediate action is crucial to restore peace and harmony in the region.
(Most of the contents of this article have been taken from weekly Agahi)
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