A Christian man lost his donkey and while searching for it on motorcycle accidentally ran over the foot of a young Muslim man. In the UK the most
that would have happened is a small skirmish between the rider of the motorcycle and the injured party, however in Pakistan road rage turned into a
small siege of an innocent and extremely vulnerable Christian community.
On the 19th August 2016, in Khushal Town in Faisalabad (predominantly Christian enclave) Adnan Masih (24 years) discovered his donkey was missing
at around 5pm. His donkey provided a necessary function for his business so he was very distraught. He and a friend decided to get on their motorcycles
to try and locate the missing donkey, assuming it had simply wandered away and was not very far from where they were.
However they soon realized the donkey was not that close when they arrived in the neighbouring town of Yasir Town . They were searching on a particularly
narrow road when Adnan, hit the foot of a local Muslim boy named Umar Hayat.
Adnan tried to apologize for the incident, but Umar was not willing to accept it from a Christian. Despite the lack of physical injury Umar started
to strike Adnan, first he slapped his face then Umar threw some punches. In the face of such provocation Adnan retaliated and the two had to be stopped
from fighting further by Adnan’s friend and some locals.
Adnan and his friend had assumed the fight was over and returned home without the donkey. However Umar had not yet finished, he was still embittered
over the accidental collision. Knowing the village where the Christian boys were from, Umar and five friends entered Khushal Town 2 hours later and
started to attack several Christians at a local snooker hall. They cornered individual Christians beating them asking them to reveal the location of
Adnan and his friend. The Christians were being called ‘Choora’ [derogatory term meaning dirty sweeper] and their Christian faith was being insulted.
Some of the local Christians young men banded together and retaliated and succeeded in frightening the Muslim gang away. The Muslim gang
of six boys fled the scene fearing they would be overpowered, however Christians did not put up a chase, they simply desired the bullying of vulnerable
youths to stop.
After some hours the Muslim boys came back but this time their group exceeded 30 people in number. Moreover they had brought hockey sticks
and other weapons with them. It was quite late at night and most homes were locked in the evening, so the gang of young men could not find anyone to
attack. They hurled abuse at Christians calling them ‘choora’ [a derogatory term that means dirty sweeper] as they walked through the streets
and threatened to kill any Christians they met, for ‘defiling pure Muslims.’
One family was unfortunate as they were attacked by the gang after they were caught unawares. The family of Emmanuel Masih (60 years) had just
settled down to rest after having enjoyed an evening meal together. Emmanuel is retired and had been basking in the sun when the Muslim gang appeared
in front of his house. They started beating the frail man demanding he tell them where Adnan lived. On hearing the commotion outside their house
the family of Emmanuel came out to see what was happening. They tried to intervene to protect their father and bring calm to the situation ,
but the gang was not ready for mediation and starting beating the whole family.
The mother (58 years) and Emmanuel’s two sons, Shamsher Jaan (28 years) and Nadir Shaan (24 years) were all beaten in the attack. Shamsher was
admitted to a local hospital and received 6 stitches near an eye and Nadir had 4 stitches near an eye. All the family members had other cuts
and bruises and have been left traumatized. None of the family members were at any of the earlier incident locations and feel upset that they have
After the brutal young men had their fill of violence the family were left lying in the street and told that unless Adnan is handed across to the Muslim
gang in the next few days, the girls of the community would be raped and kidnapped and Christian houses would be torched. The community is extremely
alarmed about this and many have reported the threats to the local police, who have provided no additional policing, despite the evidence of the attack
and exhibited fear. Adnan and his friend have already fled the town fearing a much worse attack on them and they will remain in hiding for some
time. We would like to offer the family a temporary shelter away from Faisalabad for 6 months at the cost of £260 per month including rent, bills and food.
A local Christian man named Pervaiz Masih who is an elder for the community has filed an application with Sadar police. Pervaiz is seeking justice
for the innocent Christian families attacked by the Muslim gang. Emmanuel Masih whose family were attacked has also filed a complaint at Sadar
Police station. An application to the Police has also been submitted by a member of the Muslims attackers which has blamed the Christians for the attack.
Kanwal Amar our lead reporter, said:
“The family of Emmanuel Masih are completely traumatized. They want justice and went with me to register an application for an investigation by the local Police force in Sadar. Adnan who was involved in the original incident and his friend have already fled their home to get to safety. The local community are in fear of another more brutal attack and we have asked forprotection from the local police – thus far no extra police presence has been provided.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association said:
“This attack is unwarranted and an example of the low worth of Christians in Pakistan. The submission of a counter-application for an FIR by the local Muslim men involved in the attack, is a usual ploy in which a known police bias is used to oppress minorities. An innocent family has been brutally beaten for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In any other country justice would be served with the amount of evidence available including numerous material witnesses. Pakistan must lose it culture of impunity or the violence will escalate to unprecedented levels culminating in an internationally recognized genocide. This will derail any plans for development of the nation.”
BPCA would like to offer legal services to the family so they can pursue justice and ensure that the false counter-claim by the Muslim assailants is quashed. The community is feeling great fear over the attack as the young men have threatened further attacks. The cost of a legal advisor will involve initial costs of £400. If you would like to donate to our work in helping these victims please (click here)