July 02, 2015
Ashraf Masih’s head was shaved; face was painted black and paraded through the villages. As Rehana and Ruksana faces were also painted black when police intervened and controlled the situation.
On Jun 30, 2015 Mr. Joseph Francis MBE National Director CLAAS received a call informing of an incident happened at Maki Chak 460 between Muslims and Christians. As CLAAS was informed in the evening, very next day July 01, 2015, CLAAS team comprising Mr. Saddique John, Mr. Asif Raza, and Mr. Sohail Habal, reached the place of occurrence to collect the actual facts of the happening.
Introduction of the Family:
This particular house is situated adjacent to pastor house and the Church building of the village. These two families live in this house; Awais Qamar and Rukhsana Qamar with three sons and a daughter and Ashraf Masih and Rehana and two sons. Awais Qamar and Ashraf Masih are real brothers whereas Rukhsana and Rehana are real sisters, living together in the village. Both families are illiterate and never attended any school.
Place of Incident:
Maki Chak 460 is situated 10 km beyond Feroze Watwan on a road leading towards Sajja Soda and ends at Farooqabad Sargodha Road. Maki came to existence nearly five decades ago. Maki consists two thousand families altogether out of which there are only seventy Christian families. Maki has only one Church belongs to Seventh Day Adventist Church. Pr. Asif Bashir is the only Religious Leader of this village. President of the Northern Section of the Seventh Day Adventist Church Ps. Isaac Jalal was also present when the team visited the village. Almost all the Christian families work as farmers to the landlords or under bonded laborers in the village.
This incident was started from a flex which was used as floor-matt by Rehana Qamar a Christian housewife. As Kaneez Asghar a Muslim neighbor visited them and saw children sitting on it and eating food. Kaneez noticed some the words Hadith written on it words Hadith (Oh my Lord, increase me in my knowledge). She asked Rehana to give the flex to her as it had Holy words on it. Rehana said that she bought it from Faisalabad and could only sell to her. Kaneez said that she will bring money from her home and went away.
Kaneez returned back along Nasir Sansara Bhatti a local Muslim, who pulled Rehana’s hairs and slapped her. He took the flex and captured snaps. Nasir called upon Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Yawar and Muhammad Riaz. Muhammad Riaz a barber, having his shop adjacent to this particular house. These people started shouting to kill these family members. Meanwhile more women and men gathered there as it was announced in the local mosques through loud speakers. The people incited the mob to burn Rehana’s family alive. As CLAAS team asked from local people about the announcement that that made it but none can confirmed about the person who announced.
Rehana’s husband Awais Qamar was not in the village, as he serves Chaudhry Ghafur Chadar in the next village. Upon learning about the incident, Chaudhry said that Awais has good character at workplace. He said that ‘he will look after Awais’ in all circumstances and ensured his protection. As Ashraf Masih brother of Awais Qamar returned home who was working in the fields, local Muslims shaved his head, paint his face black and swag shoes around his neck. The mob paraded him through the village, while some local Muslim women painted Rehana & Rukhsana faces black and also pulled the hairs. As the situation worst, a local pastor called on 15 Police because mob was increasing. After sometimes police reached including SHO and DPO of the area and took the victims in their custody. No FIR is registered against anyone in this incident yet.
Meeting with the Moulvi and DPO:
The concerned DPO shared the matter with Qari Ghulam Yaseen, of Jama-e-Masjid Maki Chak 460, and asked him to give ‘fatwa’ in the light of Islam to motive people. Qari Yaseen shared that ‘no man should touch any women of the Christian families’ and then ‘as these women had no intention of insulting Islam, therefore, they must be forgiven for any unintentional act’ as these people are illiterate and had no such intentions. The DPO and Qari further shared an agreement between Christians Muslims signed by many for reconcile the issue, thereafter; no police report was made in the local police station. The flex which created issue was also in police custody.
The Police have kept both families at safe place with the consent of the local Pastor. The CLAAS team has offered all its support these families deemed required to local Pastor. The CLAAS team also thanked the police assigned at the resident of victims for security purposes, local Police Station at Mandi Farooqabad and DPO Office at Sheikhupura to control the situation.
- Team found a positive role of police and Qari without their help persecution was unstoppable, as the violent mob tried to light their residents.