A 50 year old Christian farmer who had partnered with some Muslim friends in growing carrots commercially, was shot in his hand and forced to watch while
his family were beaten and molested before him. The attack occurred after he asked for his fair share of the sales profits.
Manzoor Masih a father of 10 children including three daughters had entered into the farming contract around a year ago. He and his family agreed
to labour on the field of a Mr Muhammed Shokhat in Bugri, Kasur, with their Muslim counterparts. Muhammed Naveed, Shareef Arain, Muhammed Rasheed
and Muhammed Mujeed and their relatives all agreed an equal share of the profits.
For 7 – 8 months Mr Masih’s family worked diligently day and night to ensure a very large and healthy crop yield. However when his Muslim colleagues
conducted the sale and realized just how much money they were going to make, greed took over and they paid Manzoor a much smaller fraction of the profits
than was owed to his family. They visited his home on Thursday 16th June to make the payment.
When Manzoor asked for the difference he was surprised to see the cordial behaviour of his friends become violent. Muhammed Naveed suddenly took out
a gun and shot Manzoor in the right hand causing him to fall to the ground in pain. Some of the Christians he was with managed to get him away
from their clutches, bleeding profusely. Though he was extremely weak they took him to the local hospital. Manzoor was taken directly to casualty
and after they stopped the bleeding his wounds were dressed. His friends later took Manzoor to the local police to register a crime however at this
stage local police refused to file any First Incident Report (FIR). So his friends enlisted the help of a local Christian politician who forced police
to file the FIR.
When the Muslim ex-colleagues found out about the charges within the FIR they paid a visit to the home of Manzoor with intent to intimidate. They beat
Manzoor, his wife and children – molesting the women and girls in the process. Manzoor and his family had to quickly exit their home as they saw the
same men then torch their house before their very eyes. Other local Christians came to their rescue and helped them put the fire out.
The Manzoor family are now receiving threats from local Muslims including warnings that the girls will be raped. The taunters are demanding that
Manzoor and his family drop the charges against the criminals and leave the community. The Muslim culprits are threatening to have blasphemy charges
laid against the family unless they comply.
Manzoor Masih, said:
“I and my family worked solidly for almost a year to make sure the carrots were healthy and numerous. We toiled over the land and worked diligently and faithfully our only desire was to make our lives better. We have not tried to cheat anyone we simply wanted what was owed to us by agreement. Yet when our Muslim business partners received payment for the crops they used our status as lowly Christians to steal from us. This country is unfair to minorities – here we are treated worse then animals.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:
“Manzoor Masih case is just a symptom of Pakistan’s regressive culture. It is neither unusual for a Pakistani Muslim business partner to renege on a deal, nor is it unusual for Pakistani Police authorities to ignore the plight of beleagured Christians. However the use of guns in this fashion and the brazen attempts by a small gang to burn the home of a Christian after having molested Christian women so publicly, illustrates a further decline in the social status of Christians. BPCA have warned that societal values in Pakistan are diminishing due to Islamist ideology and the degeneration is evidently linked to exhibited culture of impunity. Only swift action by statutory authorities clamping down on violence and oppression, can stem the tide of hatred. Sadly the existing government lacks the passion to implement such change, creating the current nadir.”
Manzoor and his family are aware that their presence is endangering other local Christians and would like to move to a safe house. They are seeking
a safe place to stay away from the constant threats and help with legal costs for the case of fraud and the violence against the family. The
cost of a safe house will be in the region of 200 per month for six months and legal costs will be around £400. BPCA would like to support this
family but for us to do that we need your help. If you would like to donate towards helping this family please (click here)
Blood covered bed sheets are a reminder of the violence meted upon the family
The family are still receiving threats.
The violent gang tried to burn down their home.
Manzoor Masih with his family and Naveed Aziz BPCA Officer