Violence erupted in Baldia after Muslim girl eloped with Christian man -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Violence erupted in Baldia after Muslim girl eloped with Christian man

KARACHI: After dozens of young Christian men were arrested and allegedly attacked in Karachi last week, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has appealed to the government to ensure the immediate protection of Christians from imminent attacks by “extremists”.

The Christians were arrested while their houses were searched by their neighbours in front of police officers who were out to arrest a 20-year-old Christian, identified as Zohaib, also known as Noami, the son of a man named Pervez Rahi.

Zohaib, it was reported, was in love with an 18-year-old Muslim, Anum — the daughter of a man identified as Muhammad Abid. The couple managed to run away together to another city on the night of November 20 to get married.

After the incident, however, the Christians living in Baldia Town and Saeedabad were subjected to a great deal of harassment, the AHRC revealed in a statement.

Although the incident took place within the jurisdiction of Baldia, it was the Saeedabad police which carried out the arrests of the young Christians. A mob attacked houses belonging to Christians and also tried to destroy St Luke’s Church, but the Baldia Town police sent reinforcements to protect it.

The presence of police officers stopped the mob from further attacks on the Christians. However, certain “extremists” threatened to attack the community and their church once the police left, the AHRC revealed.

Meanwhile, it was also revealed that schools in the area have remained closed since Nov 21 and almost all of the 600 Christians who were previously living in the area have left their homes. The remaining Christian families have reportedly sent their women away out of fear of further attacks. It was also revealed that the men from these families have been ordered to report to the police station and inform the law enforcers of Zohaib’s whereabouts.

“[We] wish to warn the government to take serious and definitive action before things turn bloody and the looting and burning of Christian houses begins,” the AHRC stated. “It must be emphasised that there are also pockets of banned extremist organisations in Baldia Town which are working for al Qaeda. The government must provide full protection to the Christians in Baldia Town and its surrounding areas.”

According to the AHRC, in the past, it had been frequently observed that the police always work “under pressure from extremist groups” and have never protected minorities. Therefore, the government must immediately initiate a dialogue between the Muslims and the Christians in order to resolve this situation peacefully.

“Islam and Christianity are both religions that promote love, peace and harmony and it is vital that this is pointed out strongly to the members of both sides,” the AHRC concluded.
Source: The Express Tribune
Date:11/28/2010