AND ASHES OF BIBLES AND CHURCHES
Page one and two consist of the photos on the previous page.
On February 5th & 6 th 1997 in the presence of the cries-screams and tears of a very harmless, armless (no weapons) & peace loving a tiny community, an unprecidental,horrifying attack was made by the muslim believers,the citizens of the same country on the Christians who are in extreme minority.
The citizens who were attacked are the waeker section of the same society which have been living from many centuries together in harmony and brotherhood but the Islamization imposed by General Zia-ul-Haq and then later on the introduction of different Islamic laws, particulary the Blaspemy laws have created an atmospere of hatred prejudice and jealously against the citizens who have been working for the freedom of this land.
According to different news papers and interviews taken by different Human Rights-Social Activists and Religious leaders, nearly 75 thousand Muslims from the surrounding villages, towns, cities (Kabirwala, Mian Channoo, Khanewal and Multan) got gathered by a pre-planned plot mad by the Police officials of the Police Station Khanewal Saddar and the fundamentalists leaders fully equipped with all modern and latest sophisticated waepons, marched as an army towards the Christians Churches, Hostels, Dispensaries and Houses. The clouds of the smoke, the high degree of heat of flames, the screams and cries of the people whose belongings were burnt to ashes, their Bibles and Hymn books were also torched and blazed into ashes. This attack was not made by any foreign land people, but it was attacked by the people of the same country.
Actually this was an uncountable crowd of the believers who were raising slogans. "Kill the Christians because they are Blasphemers towards the Holy Quran and Holy Prophet".
The facts collected actually have been stated by the Muslims who are witnessing the brutal scene when it was being staged and played by the brutal people of the police and Islamic fundamentalist. Some of Muslims though they tried to bring the situation calm and quiet so that bad name should not come on the Muslims but the Muslims Mosque Priests and Political leaders from both parties were also inciting to burn every thing of the Christians which come in their way.
The press media has been very active to communicate to the masses of the pathetic, horrifying scene where 15 hundered houses, shops, stores and 13 Churches and over 1500 Bibles and hymn books and religious commentaries were burnt into ashes in Shanti Nagar Khanewal, Punjab, Pakistan.
Though the experienced journalists of different News Papers, Journals and Magazines have also provided some clues that police officials were more responsible than the simple and illiterate Muslims.
Facts finding team comprising of Human rights social activists and religous Rev. John Victor Mall, Rev. William Johnson, Mr. David Paul, Mr. J.D.Gill, Mr. Niamat Bernard, Mr. Patras went on 9th Feb, 1007 from Lahore to Khanewal and Shanti Nagar. Whatever facts and figure they had found is being stated.
On the way this team took two very responsible and trust worthy persons Chaudhary Fateh Jang, and Mr. John Harnam from Chak No. 135 Stuntzabad so that they could be guide to the team in Shanti Nagar as they had very close relatives as well as they also belong to the same District of Khanewal. Though the press media has given the cause of attach on the Christians accusing them some Christians had desecrated the Holy Quran. As some pages of the Holy Quran had been torn and thrown in a mosque. Therefore, the Muslims got gathered and attacked on the Christian's village and Churches. That was self made story by the Muslims. Actually no Christian had committed any crime of such nature of Blaspemy.
There thirteen Churches have been desecrated, furniture and the altar has been ransacked. Over 1500 Bibles and Hymn books have been burnt into ashes. Besides over 1500 houses and belongings of the people have been ransacked in Shanti Nagar.
This team believes that this in human plot was concieved by the police especially by SHO Aziz-ur-Rehman Dogar, Head Constable Noor Nabi and ASI Mohammad Sadiq. The man who is being accused of desecrating the Holy Quran and writing derogatory remarks about the Prophet is a tonga driver, and is illiterate. Actually no Christian in Pakistan can ever think, dare to say or do some thing against Islam.
The flames of fire are still to be seen and smelt in the village and houses have been destroyed with ammunition like petrol bombs and grenades. Concrete ceilings have been blown away which clearly indicate that forces beyond human strength was used. We the leaders of the Christian Community and human rights activist are convinced, that this was a planned plot against the Christrians to eliminate then completely.
Some points are worth to be considered:
1. The mosgue at 6.5 Km from Khanewal & from Shanti Nagar which is said where the papers from the Holy Quran were thrown by some Christians while there is also one mosque in the village of Shanti Nagar where such torn papers were much easier to throw there but no one had thrown there, neither here and nor there. This was a false accusation on the Christians as wolf makes a false accusation on the lamb that why he was making the water dirty. He had to drink. The lamb said "Sir water is coming from your side" The wolf said; I will eat him becuase he was abusing last year. The lamb said, "Sir I was not born last year", The wolf said, "if you were not, then it may be your father so I will eat your".
2. This is the same Khanewal where one Deputy Commissioner belonging to Shia Sect was killed.
3. There is one very strong hold of one notorious Islamic Extremist Organization which is considered as Islamic Terrorist Organization.
4. It is learnt through some Muslims of the area their names due to security reason have not been mentioned that some police officials and Islamic organization had planned to give a lesson to the Christians that why there were demonstrating against the police officers when police had insulted the Holy Bible.
5. The first announcement on the loud speaker was made in the Jamiah Masjad Gapwail-Khanewal at about 10.30 pm on Feb 5, 1997 & then three motor cyclists with megaphone were creating confusion, hatred and instigating the Muslims against the Christians saying, "The Christians had burnt the Holy Quran in the Mosque of Shanti Nagar."
6. The three persons Rana Latif, Rana Sarwar and Rana Baga from Ariah Nagar were riding on motor cycles came some minuets earlier than the demonstrators, they told the Christian to vacate their houses, Churches because a very huge procession would be peaceful, better the Christians should go out of the village. Exactly the same words were of the police and the Area Magistrate Mr. Mohammad Aslam had the powers to disperse procession but the reason is not known that why he was not bold. He and other officers shown insensitivity.
7. The police cops were handing over the weapons, shells & grenades to the terrorists when they were firing, blazing the houses, the Churches, the dispensaries and other belongings.
8. The most of the belongings either looted away or burnt down into ashes. Only horrible scene of brutality can be visualized in Tiba Colony & Shanti Nagar Khanewal.
9. The valuable papers, deed papers of their properties, certificates & degrees, pass books, cheque books, pension books and other documents have also been burnt into ashes & even post office has become the heap of ashes.
10. The ornaments, jewelries & costly clothes of newly married women or the dowries of the young girls have been looted away the neighbouring Muslims.
11. The victimized Christians & some Muslims have recognized some of the police cops & some Muslims from the neighboring villages who were directly involved and engaged to commit brutality.
12. As the police could not control the demonstration and procession because these were the active participants in blazing shelling and burning the buildings then army came near the village but they were again stooped and delayed and asked to wait there by the police & Distt management but when the captain saw the clouds of smoke, flames then he took courageous step, he marched forward with his staff to save the Christians. Then demonstrators & terrorists dispersed and this way the lives of the Christian were saved. Though each & every thing of the Christians in Tiba Colony & Shanti Nagar have become ashes. There has been the worst & biggest loss of billions of rupees ever happened to the Christians in the history of Pakistan.
They have nothing of thier own that could survive. It is the duty of Government of Pakistan to give them full protection, full compensation as well as write off their Revenue of the crops & their agricultural loan installments. The agricultural machineries tractors, trollies which had been destroyed have to be provided to the Christians farmers. The losses of the Christian made by the police. Muslim fundamentalists is the duty of the Government to compensate. The rehabilitation and restoration of all Christians whose belongings have been looted away, buildings have been turned down into ashes have to be renovated by the Government in the same shape as original.
The Chief Justice supreme Court should nominate some Judje from the High Court to probe the incident then give the exemplary punishment to thooseculprits who have brought brutality to the peace loving community and also those people have brought bad name to the country. But it seems, the irresponsibility, perhaps they think that the Christians of Pakistan are not the equal citizens.
God forbidden, if such thing had happened in Dera Gazi Khan or in Lahore, then it would have been different situation. The P.T.V. would have given many special News Bullentin with the special consideration of sympathy towards the Muslim brothers but there is no solidarity, concern is being shown towards the Christians by the Government of Pakistan.
The Government of Pakistan should take this issue very seriously. It must not be taken light. If the spirit and intention of religious intolerance and terrorism is not eradicted, then there shall be some time uncontrolable chaotic situation for the whole country.
Our country needs the athmosphere of great tolerance, harmony and brotherhood for the rapid development, peace and progress.
If Mian Mohammad Nawaz sharif wants green development in the country that then he has to make many bold steps by different ways, from different angles and with different strategies so that the norms of true Democracy, Character of Human Rights could be brought into pratice in real manner. Could be possiblefor both the President and the Prime minister to visit the scene where only oppression & brutality on the poor Christians have been brought into practice freely under legalized persecution-victimization.
In Islamabad the Christians have staged a big demonstration & in Karachi 20 Christians badly injured & 350 Christians have been arrested by the police because they were demonstrating against the Police action, involvement in burning Churches, Bibles & houses in Shanti Nagar Khanewal.
At this crucial time where is the president of Pakistan?
Where is the Minority Commission Constituted by Mr. Moeen Qureshi the former care taker Prime Minister?
Where is the Government Human Rights Ministery-Cell established by Mohterma Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister?
Where is Mian Nawaz Sharif the Present Prime Minister?
While the Christians are beeing driven out of their houses, Churches then every thing including their belongings are blazed & turned down into ashes.
We the Chrsitians of Pakistan have great commitment to serve our motherland with great sincerity and loyalty even more than the majority community of Pakistan.
We want that all the discriminatory & blasphemy laws should be repealed.