Rescue Christians’ quick action averts likely disaster

In third case in one month, Tariq Yousaf and Arif Yousaf have been falsely accused of blasphemy at Thatha Faqir Ullah, a Christian Colony, Wazirabad city, District Gujranwala, near Lahore, bearing FIR Number 533/13 in Sadar Police station Wazirabad.

Crisis averted in Pakistan.

Crisis averted in Pakistan.

From our contacts in Pakistan…

We were informed by one of our friends and Human Rights Activist, [redacted] that there is a tense situation in Wazirabad. Our team members, led by Advocate [redacted] immediately left for Wazirabad along with [redacted], where the relatives of Tariq and Arif requested that we provide legal assistance.

There was a fear and tension amongst the Christians of the village Fariq Ullah but our team of lawyers and [redacted] assured them that they would not let this village be like a Gojra or Joseph colony.

A priest from a Greek Orthodox Church and brother [redacted] also encouraged the local people. The role of the Church was extremely positive.

Police arrested Arif but Tariq escaped. Later on, police arrested Waris Masih, another brother of Tariq Yousaf. Arif and Waris both work for Pakistan Railways, whereas Tariq worked at Cutlery factory and in part-time he used to make Firecrackers.

A few days ago there was a wedding in the village. Khurram Shahzed (Complainant of the FIR) bought some firecrackers from Tariq. According to Khurram:

“The crackers didn’t crack and when I opened them I saw that the crackers were made with the Koranic Pages Which was also witnessed by Tajjamul Butt and Muhammad Waris.”

Within no time they caught Tariq and beat him at the main road but some of the Muslims and Christians intervened and solved the issue through dialogues. Even the Complainant and other Muslims stated that they have forgiven him and further stated that if Tariq has done something wrong, God will punish him.

It is strange that even after settling the issue that caused Khurram to register an FIR against Tariq and Arif, tensions remain 4 days after the incident.

There was a rumor that after the Friday prayers there will be a strong reaction by the Muslim neighborhood. However, with the wise step taken by our associates, our legal team and friend [redacted], we were able to submit the protection application for the Christian community of Thatha Fariq Uallah.

Today, our team was in action to safeguard and protect the endangered Christian Community. Station House Officer [redacted] and [redacted] played a positive role in safe-guarding the Christian community. Our Legal Head Advocate [redacted], who was leading our team in Fariq-Uallah, informed us that the Station House Office and the Imam of the Mosque showed a very commendable response. Even the Imam of the Mosque announced from the loudspeaker that anyone who harms any Christian property or person shall be strictly treated according to the law.

The police remained there until 4pm and thanks to God that no critical situation occurred. We observed that some of the NGOs and people were manufacturing tensions in the Community by charging that the Mosques were calling for attacks on Christians, which is absolutely incorrect. Some of them even started sending text messages that Fariq–Uallah is under threat.

We would request that our Christian brothers not exacerbate tensions that are not nearly as intense as they were in places like Gojra and Joseph Colony.

Once again, we proved that we can bring change if we are honest in our efforts and commitment. The situation at Wazirabad is now under control. Police showed excellent cooperation, as did some of the Muslims Clerics. Our team is defending Arif and Tariq though Tariq is still missing. We request you to please keep us in your prayers.

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