Pasrur, Sialkot: In the early hours of the morning, tragedy befell the Talvandi Anayat Khan Bajwa community in Pasrur, Sialkot, when 20-year-old Farhan ul Qamar (20 yrs), an aspiring medical student and devout Christian, was brutally murdered in his own home.
The assailant, identified as Muhammad Zubair (24 yrs), targeted Farhan for expressing support for Israel on social media during the recent conflict with Palestine.
For an agonizing half-hour, the heartless assailant subjected the family and other Christians in the vicinity to relentless abuse, baselessly accusing them of being Jewish agents and issuing ominous threats of mass murder.
The remorseless culprit has since been apprehended by the police, and disturbingly, he has expressed an intention to target other Christians upon his release from prison.
Around 3:00 am on 9th November 2023, Muhammad Zubair surreptitiously entered the home of Farhan ul Qamar, and cut the power connection before shooting him multiple times in the head, shoulder, and neck. Farhan’s helpless mother, Nighat Qamar, was held hostage for half an hour, enduring abuse and threats from the remorseless killer. Zubair accused the family of being Jewish agents and vowed to kill them all.
Nighat Qamar recalls the horrifying moment: “I woke up to a power cut in the house and, to understand what had happened, I turned on the flashlight on my mobile phone.”
The beam revealed Muhammad Zubair with a gun in his hand, seated by the window, prompting the mother to scream in terror. The commotion roused Farhan, who was sleeping on a rope bed next to his mother. The grieving mother provided further details, saying, “My son had barely risen when Muhammad Zubair verbally abused him and fired multiple bullets into his neck, shoulder, and the side of his head.” She continued, “My son collapsed onto his bed and couldn’t stand up.”
After hearing the gunshot, Noor ul Qamar (55 yrs), Farhan’s father, who was sleeping on the first floor, rushed downstairs to find out what had happened. In an attempt to enter the room, Noor ul Qamar knocked on the door, but Muhammad Zubair threatened Nighat, stating that he would kill her husband too if she allowed him in. The helpless mother urged her husband to go upstairs to sleep and convinced him that an electrical spark had caused the power cut.
“He told me to send my husband upstairs, or he would kill him too,” recounted Nighat. During his stay in the room after brutally murdering Farhan ul Qamar, Muhammad Zubair repeatedly uttered, “You are dirty Jews.”
Once the harrowing half-hour episode concluded, and the ruthless murderer fled the scene, the grieving family called 1122 for medical assistance, but their efforts were in vain. The deceased’s body was transported to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Pasrur.
The Saddar Police Pasrur inexplicably delayed the filing of the FIR. Despite the murder occurring at 3:00 am, the police registered the FIR at 3:40 pm, an illogical delay that defies understanding. However, an FIR 950/23 on charges of 302 against culprit Muhammad Zubair has been filed. The Saddar Police apprehended the remorseless murderer from his bed while he was resting at his residence. In police custody, Zubair callously vowed to kill other Christians after his release from prison.
BACA’s team visited the family at their residence in Talvandi Anayat Khan, offering consolation to the grieving mother. The team also visited THQ Hospital Pasrur, meeting with Pastor Zia ul Qamar, Farhan’s paternal uncle. Pastor Zia informed them that doctors had not yet conducted the post-mortem because the police had not registered the FIR.
Explaining the motive behind this merciless incident, Pastor Zia revealed that last month, during the Israel-Palestine conflict, a Christian from their church posted a statement on social media in favor of Israel. This act infuriated local Muslims, leading to threats against the Christian youth. An FIR was registered against the Christian, who was later arrested. The incident posed a grave threat to the entire Christian community, causing many to initially flee the area, only to return later.
“We are still under threat, and this threat has taken one of our sons,” lamented Pastor Qamar, urging BACA to stand with Farhan’s family.
Farhan, a medical student at the University of Sialkot, was a bright student who excelled in FSc (Faculty of Science). He aspired to become a doctor.
Today, on the 10th of November, a funeral service was solemnly conducted to bid farewell to Farhan. Our dedicated officer, Edward Masih, not only attended the funeral but also generously covered all the associated costs.
In our commitment to seeking justice for Farhan’s family, we have extended an offer to finance a legal advocate. In Pakistan, cases involving murder and rape are adjudicated in civil courts, and securing legal representation is crucial for a fair trial.
To facilitate this, we are seeking to raise £2000 for a solicitor, and we invite you to contribute to this cause by donating [here]. Your support will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the family receives the legal assistance they deserve during this challenging time.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“This heartless assault targeted an innocent Christian man whose perspectives on the Israel-Palestine conflict deviated from the mainstream in Pakistan.
“In a nation that consistently demonizes and caricatures minorities even in curriculum textbooks (click here), expressing support for Israel during this ongoing conflict becomes a perilous act, tantamount to a death threat.
“The Jewish community in Pakistan, which once thrived with a population of 3000 in Karachi, faced relentless persecution during the Arab-Israeli wars in the 1970s.
“Many were forced to flee to Israel. Despite the 2011 census indicating that over 900 Jews still reside in Pakistan, only one individual, Fischel Benkhalid, has demonstrated the courage to update his passport to reflect his true faith, a change facilitated by BACA (click here).
“Others persist in presenting themselves as Muslims, navigating this charade to avoid persecution.
“The Government of Pakistan bears the responsibility of safeguarding Fischel Benkhald and those clandestinely practicing their faith.
“This protection should extend to Christians who have been targeted in the words of Muhammed Zubair and already hold pariah status.
“Every citizen of Pakistan should feel assured of their safety, whether they choose to support Israel or Palestine.
“In the face of such a despicable act, we implore that Muhammad Zubair, the perpetrator, be made an example of, receiving the severest of penalties. This deterrent is crucial to forestall future instances of such abhorrent murders.”