Pakistan: Christian Labourer Tortured and killed for washing himself

Christian farm laborer Saleem Masih was tortured for two hours for washing himself in a tube well owned by a Muslim farmer in Pakistan. He died on Feb 28, reports Christian Catholic news outlet UCA News – 

“We have to take a bath after unloading husk from a trolley. Even the cold weather doesn’t matter. The itching from chaff, stuck in our clothes, disturbs our sleep,” Nadeem, his elder brother, told UCA News. “They threatened him with dire consequences when he cleaned himself after unloading a vehicle last week. They accused him of desecrating their water. He was already being warned about making TikTok videos in farms belonging to Muslim landlords.”

Nadeem Masih shows a photograph of his murdered brother Saleem Masih in Bhagiana village in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Feb. 29. (Photo: Kamran Chaudhry/UCA News)

Masih was found lying in a cattle farm with serious bodily injuries on Feb. 25 in Bhagiana village, 90 kilometers southwest of Lahore in Punjab province. The 200 Christians living in the village mostly work as laborers and farmers.  “It was 7 AM. Local women reported that my brother was moaning in pain. He told the police about being chained, beaten and electrocuted by four men. They rolled a thick iron rod over his entire body. He was like a crushed sugar cane from a juice machine.”

Police arrested Sher Dogar, a Muslim landlord, and his partner but released them a few hours later. Masih, 22, was later taken to hospital and underwent surgery. According to a medical report, he died from total organ failure.

Lahore High Court has already accepted a pre-arrest bail petition from the alleged murderers, who accused Masih of stealing potatoes and turmeric.  “The police returned him home after first aid and recording statements. He then spent two nights in a wheelchair at a hospital due to a bed shortage. Nobody listened to us. My elderly mother wants justice. She wants them executed the way they killed her son,” said Nadeem.

More than 1,000 Christians attended Masih’s funeral at a Christian evangelical church located in front of his mud house. Punjab Minister for Human Rights, Minorities Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Ejaz Alam Augustine also attended. Pastor Saleem Massey condemned “fanatical” landlords. “This is tyranny by powerful rascals. The minority community continue to suffer; they are considered the scum of the earth. The victim’s family and witnesses are being threatened,” said the pastor.”

None of the above comes as a surprise – Pakistani institutions, such as police and judiciary, are as radicalised as their political class and Army. In cases of minor Hindu girls being kidnapped, forcefully converted and married off to their abductors too, the institutional mechanisms work for the abductors and not victims. Parents of abducted girls are made to run around by police; If matter reaches court the girl is just shifted to some shelter home where she is intimidated by the conversion mafia, fake documents are produced showing the girl is a major and that she converted of her own free will, or age test results are falsified. Finally, armed Islamist mobs descend on the courtroom when the girl’s statement is recorded and poor girls have no option but to surrender to her fate. Meanwhile, Pakistani middle classes turn a blind eye to persecution of minorities and lap up the Islamist fare dished out on TV which blames ‘Endia’ or the unholy trinity of RAW-Mossad-CIA for all ills afflicting Pakistan or the Muslim world.

In one recent case, the Sindh High Court shockingly ruled that a 14-year-old girl’s marriage with her alleged abductor was valid as she has already had her first menstrual cycle – this despite Sindh law banning marriage of girls under 18. Moreover, a bill criminalizing forced religious conversions has been repeatedly stalled in the Sindh Assembly. Interestingly, Sindh is considered the most ‘progressive’ province of Pakistan (most Pakistani Hindus reside in Sindh) so one can well imagine the condition of minorities in other provinces of Pakistan like Punjab.

In desperation, to prove how good Pakistanis they are, Pakistani Christian orgs are reverting to the time-tested technique of Bharat-bashing. Quoting from the same UCA News article –

Khalid Shehzad, a Catholic human rights activist who headed a fact-finding mission to Bhagiana village where Saleem Masih was lynched, led a protest by pastors at Lahore Press Club on March 1 against ‘anti-Muslim violence in Delhi’.

“Hopefully the rally against violence in India will open the eyes of authorities against anti-Christian violence in Pakistan. We condemn atrocities in our neighboring country, but who will provide protection for our community?” he asked.

Khalid Shehzad is either blind to, or wilfully conceals, the fact that violence in Delhi was instigated by violent Islamist mobs demanding withdrawal of CAA, an act which ironically offers refuge to persecuted Pakistani Christian refugees.

It is also noteworthy that Pakistani Christians are far better organised, with many more religious, legal, human rights organisations working for their cause compared to other minorities like Hindus. The funding by the Western world has a big part to play in this, and the way Aisa Bibi was rescued and resettled in Canada stands testimony. Still, it is observed that these Christian organisations hardly ever mention the persecution of Pakistani Hindus, who are even more persecuted than Pakistani Christians.

The UCA News article further reveals how deep-rooted the bias and social exclusion faced by religious minorities in Pakistan is –

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), an interdenominational organization working for persecuted Christians, accused police of being bribed over Masih’s murder. “They pressured the family to settle the matter. The case won’t be easy because the Pakistani police are often biased when it comes to matters between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is very unfortunate that even in the 21st century we have to see such incidents happening in Pakistan,” said CLAAS-UK director Nasir Saeed.

“This is not an isolated case. Such cases happen every day throughout Pakistan and are not reported in the media. The government has not taken any steps to stop torture and discriminatory treatment based on religion. Pakistani Muslim society has become more intolerant than ever and living as a Christian is becoming harder than ever. Christians are living under fear of their lives and see no future in Pakistan.”

Church leaders have repeatedly complained of the lack of seriousness of successive governments toward targeted attacks and systemic discrimination faced by religious minorities. Masih died two days after Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed solidarity with minorities in Pakistan in a tweet.“I want to warn our people that anyone in Pakistan targeting our non-Muslim citizens or their places of worship will be dealt with strictly. Our minorities are equal citizens of this country,” he stated.

Last month a mob attacked a church under construction in a village in Punjab’s Sahiwal district. Azeem Gulzar, 25, was left mute and half-paralyzed after being shot in the head while his family tried to resist 15 armed men from pulling down the wall of the church. Two other Christians were injured.

According to researcher Asif Aqeel, untouchability is one of the major issues being faced by Pakistani non-Muslims. “Among religious minorities, a foul odor is associated mostly with Christians. Ahmadis and scheduled caste Hindus also complain that people have sometimes refused to eat or drink with the crockery used by them. It is particularly common in rural settings but not absent in urban areas,” he said.

“Pakistani Christians, mostly Protestant churches and missionary institutes, have been the main non-Muslim group targeted by terrorists since 9/11. The perpetrators were almost never apprehended. Personnel of law enforcement agencies act differently when dealing with a non-Muslim.”

The annual report of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, the Catholic Church’s human rights body in Pakistan, claims eight Christians were killed in 2018. These cases included terror attacks, rivalry with Muslims, police brutality and an acid attack. The Ahmadi community claims 268 Ahmadis have been killed while 391 have been assaulted for their faith from 1984 to Dec. 12, 2019.

Unsurprisingly, the article does not provide the number of Hindus killed and persecuted in Pakistan, because for a Christian news outlet Hindus lives hardly matter. Sadly, even Hindus of Bharat, drunk on ‘secularism’, have not bothered to maintain these kind of statistics about persecution of Hindus worldwide. From the work of some Pakistani Hindu human rights groups and journalists, we do know that around 1000 Hindu girls get abducted every year. And dozens of Hindus are killed every year on false blasphemy charges across the country.

No riot-related deaths are reported, because Hindus do not dare riot – quite unlike the minorities of Bharat who even if they burn down a train full of Hindu pilgrims are still defended by our ‘liberals’. And what we get to hear out of Pakistan about the persecution of minorities is just the tip of the iceberg – there is a veil of silence because of the fascist deep state that controls everything in Pakistan – the Army-ISI-Mullah nexus. Anyone interested in learning the true state of things in Pakistan should read this interview of a Sindhi Muslim socal activist.


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